- Leandro Herrero - https://leandroherrero.com -

Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ was not in the script.

Most of what is very good comes from discarding the standard or the good itself.

The best scripts I have ever had for my Speaking Engagements are the ones I have not used, or the ones I have not followed. Writing a flow, a script, a story, gives your mind the comfort of a structure, of an outline. In doing so lots of collateral ideas come up. And those may take over.

This is the King’s story as told by Adam Grant in ‘The surprising habits of original thinkers’:

The night before the biggest speech of his life, the March on Washington, he was up past 3am, rewriting it. He’s sitting in the audience waiting for his turn to go onstage, and he is still scribbling notes and crossing out lines. When he gets onstage, 11 minutes in, he leaves his prepared remarks to utter four words that changed the course of history: “I have a dream.” That was not in the script. By delaying the task of finalizing the speech until the very last minute, he left himself open to the widest range of possible ideas. And because the text wasn’t set in stone, he had freedom to improvise.

The more solid the preparation the better. For anything. Then, at 85-90% good, you stop and let it cook. The extra 10% coming later may change the course of the entire previous 80%.

‘I have a dream’ changed everything he said afterwards, but I bet it would not have come out had Dr King  not scribbled and struggled and then discarded. Or not liking it. Because he was well prepared, he went off tangent. And the dream thing was history. Off the script.