Katie Cavanna: Being the very best version of yourself is ultimately the goal for us all

Martin Luther King, Jr speaking at the University of Minnesota in 1967. Photo: Minnesota Historical

Martin Luther King, Jr speaking at the University of Minnesota in 1967. Photo: Minnesota Historical Society, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0 - Credit: Minnesota Historical Society, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0

‘Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are’ - Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

For everyone that knows me, they know how much I love this quote - they will probably have heard it a million times over!

It has to be one of my favourites. I used it a lot when I taught, and it continues to resonate on a deep level.

I am highly competitive and even more so with myself, this has at times, been my downfall where I have continually sought to be better and better without reflecting on any of the successes I had achieved.

Setting up RE4orm, the remit was always to empower people to be the very best version of themselves. To give those a platform whose voice is not heard. To enable every individual to ultimately achieve their full potential.

Being the very best version of yourself is ultimately the goal for us all. Finding out what motivates you, what drives you to get up each morning and what your inherent passion is, that’s something that I hope everyone finds within.

“Secondly, in your life’s blueprint, you must have as a basic principle the determination to achieve excellence in your various fields of endeavor... If it falls to your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures. Sweep streets like Beethoven composed music. Sweep streets like Leontyne Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera. And sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of Heaven and Earth will have to pause and say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.’”

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King zeroes in on the street sweeper, a recurring image in his other speeches, to make a crucial point: whatever one’s profession may be, strive to be the absolute best at it.

Through dedication, one attains the invaluable reward of self-realisation. The street sweeper serves as a source of inspiration that will carry King’s student audience (and all of us) through their lives.

King gave us the steps to draft the blueprints for a future we’ll have to build, again and again, which each new generation, in order to strive for the just society that we want.

This is a world we’re building together, and it won’t become a reality without collaboration, education, and rallying together for change. His words will always be timely.

With this blueprint, we can keep moving forward. As he states at the end of his speech, “We must keep going. If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. But by all means, keep moving.”

As we near the end of 2020, a year that will go down in history for years to come, I wanted to reflect on the many positives that we can take with us, from the outstanding work within our wonderful community.

Yes, it’s been tough; unprecedented in a number of ways, but amidst the darkness, there has been a beacon of hope shining brightly for all to see.

One of the biggest positives, has to be the way in which many within Torbay have found their passion, their drive and their need to make a difference to someone else. There are just too many people to mention.

Growing up in Torbay, I have always been acutely aware of the potential of so many in our community.

The sheer amount of talent, creativity and passion here continues to know no bounds.

Torbay is a place like no other; its natural beauty continues to take my breath away and I will never take it for granted. As well as the wonderful natural beauty, the residents of Torbay are simply phenomenal!