Below is an except from a speech given by Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1967, on the subject of ending the Vietnam war, delivered at Riverside Church in New York City:
“We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood-it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, “Too late.” There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. Omar Khayyam is right: “The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on.”
Passionate speeches can resonate differently depending on context and person listening. In this case, the quote resonated with how I build my teams, run my products, drive start ups and push towards positive outcomes.
How many times have you had drinks with friends and he said “I had that idea years ago, I just never did anything with it”. Some would say that start ups are 10% ingenuity and 90% execution. Founders need to understand the “fierce ugency of now” or else never gain traction, never gather momentum and flat out fail.
I need to get this quote framed and put up in my office.