“Cowardice asks the question – is it safe?
Expediency asks the question – is it politic?
Vanity asks the question – is it popular?
But conscience asks the question – is it right?
And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. may be best known for telling us that he had a dream, but it is very important to remember that you need to transcend these dreams and do something to make them a reality. This relates not only to social justice and human rights, but also concerns on a more personal level. What are you doing in your own life, with your own friends and family, to make your dreams a reality?
In the quote above, MLK reminds us the road is not always safe. Courage is not being able to see what is around the corner, but moving forward regardless. You can also get caught up in public opinion and in your public image, but sometimes the most popular choice isn’t the right one. You have to decide for yourself what is the ethical thing to do. What is the right thing to do?
Think about this from an everyday context. If you are faced with an opportunity to make a good deal of money, but you don’t agree with the ethics behind such a project, should you take it? I’d argue no. I’d be happier with myself if I made a humble but honest living rather than involve myself in something that contradicts my personal value system.
You may or may not be expected to take that extra step and attempt to save the world, but you can make sure that you are “right” within yourself. This may or may not be the safest, most lucrative, or most popular position, but if you can’t look in the mirror and be satisfied with who’s staring back at you, what’s the point?