Starting with gratitude simply promotes an extra portion of power. That’s especially true of giving. Indeed, true giving begins with gratitude. As we discussed recently, the more grateful you are, the more you will have, and the more you have, the more you can give. You can truly light the world when with gratitude you share your gifts from God with others.
Reflect on unique gifts
We often think of gifts being highly prized and desirable attributes or skills. So it’s not that surprising when some of us who don’t have those highly prized and desirable attributes or skills feel we don’t have any gifts.
That’s of course not true. I don’t care who you are or where you’re from. Everyone has gifts from God. We all have talent for something. When we exercise our talents, executing the necessary action just seems to flow more easily, even if we lack specific training. God gave talents to everyone so we all can contribute positively to others’ lives.
I’m convinced we each have multiple talents from God. Often, they aren’t what we’d think of as talents. I once knew a sister missionary whose smile was so infectious you couldn’t help but feel a little better when her smile shone upon you. Another friend was a really good listener. We don’t normally think of smiling and listening as talents, and yet I would submit they qualify.
What talents do you have from God? What gifts has He given you that make your contribution to the lives of others unique? Reflect on those gifts for a moment and simmer in gratitude for them.
Reflect on common gifts
Of course, we share some gifts from God in common. Again, I don’t care who you are or where you are from. God has blessed each of us not only with gifts unique to each one of us but also with gifts we share in common.
The first such gift is the greatest gift of God — the gift of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. He is the reason for the season precisely because He is the greatest gift. Through Him, we all have the opportunity to repent and to live forever with God and those we most love. Through Him we all have the power to acquire the fulness of not just our spiritual potential but every other potential as well, be that emotional, intellectual, or physical.
Unfortunately, that gift too often goes unappreciated, as does the second greatest gift from God — agency. Every moment, we get to choose for ourselves what we’ll think, say, and do — and with that what we’ll become. Between our Advocate with the Father and our agency, we have the essentials to become our best selves, live our best life, and achieve the fulness of our potential. Yet too often we don’t even consider these gifts as the gateways to greatness they are.
Don’t let that be you. Take a moment to reflect and meditate on these wonderful gifts and the opportunities they make possible in your life. Marinade your soul in gratitude for your gifts from God.
Share gratitude with others
But it’s not just enough to feel gratitude. You must share it as well! Otherwise, the circle won’t be complete.
What does that mean? Gratitude is an emotion for what has come into your life. You then decide what you will send out to others. What you send out will come back to you again, even when that something is nothing; if you send nothing out, you won’t get anything back again. But when you send out something — say, gratitude, for instance — you will find it later returned to you.
Whatever your gifts from God, take time to reflect on them, feel gratitude for them, and then share that gratitude with others. You’ll find more reason to celebrate the season while moving yourself closer to becoming your best self and living your best life. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
But then as I thought about it, I began to see I needed to see this differently. I’m not knocking the Light the World calendar. If you want to do that, that’s great. I just think I need to focus more on what I can give than on what I have received. I think I need to be that shining star for someone else rather than showcase what someone else has been for me.
See your full potential
Yeah, I get it. Like I said, I’m not knocking the Light the World calendar or anything like that. It’s all good and, like I said, if you want to do it, then do it. There’s a lot of good that can come from that.
But when I turn the consideration away from what others have done or will do and towards what I will do, I feel I need a different focus. It’s not hard for me to see that producing Joy in the Journey Radio has helped me undergo a transformation. I’m not the same man I was last year, and next year I won’t be the same man I am this year.
What’s happened? What’s changed? And what’s driven that change? I think the essence of it is simply that I’m becoming more of the man that God wants me to be. And that man is a man who spends his days serving others, helping others, and inspiring others to become the men and women God wants them to be. I think that man is a man devoted to helping others along the covenant path of eternal progression.
And when I say that, I’m not just talking about the spiritual. I’m talking about the total package — the physical, the emotional, and the mental/intellectual as well as the spiritual. That’s because I think God wants each of us to become the total package.
Understand the bigger picture
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not suggesting we all become identical clones of some unrealistic ideal. Your total package may not be the same as my total package. But your total package represents the fulfillment of your potential just as my total package represents the fulfillment of my potential.
And that’s really the whole idea behind why we’re here. The whole intent of our Heavenly Father’s plan is for us to achieve the fullness of our potential. Coming here to this fallen mortal world and having experiences in mortality allow us to take important steps along that path towards achieving our full potential.
That’s what the covenant path of eternal progression really is. That’s what becoming the total package really is. It’s all just a series of steps that each help us to become more of that man or woman we can and should be.
Truly light the world
I’m not going to become the man I can and should be unless I turn my focus to giving. I need to do more of what the man I can become would do in order to become that man. I need to be that shining star for others because that’s what the man I can and should become is.
Again, I’m not knocking the Light the World calendar. And hey, if you really need to do that in order to become the man or woman you need to become, then I say go for it. Pour your whole self into it. Whatever your potential is for you, pour your whole self into it and embrace the transformation.
For many of us, I think that transformation will come when we decide to be the shining star for others. When we decide to hold up our light, others are both inspired to come out of the dark and given permission to hold up their own light. When they do, that will inspire others and give them permission to do the same. When we each decide to be the shining star we need to be, we can truly light the world. And that will bring us more joy in our journey.
I’ve felt free like I haven’t felt in quite some time. I still have lots to do, and I still don’t know how I’m going to accomplish it all. But I feel as though I have more than enough time to do everything needful, even though I did the math and know the numbers don’t fit. It’s a great blessing from the Lord, and I realize my choice to chase purpose, not proof, paved the way for my blessings.
Commit to purpose
Part of the difficulty I wrestled last week was feeling I needed to do more than time would allow. Meeting with my advisor helped resolve that by providing some clarity around exactly what effort was needed. And I felt the Lord’s guiding and supporting hand.
But the floodgates of feeling truly free and empowered opened only after I committed to my purpose. Don’t get me wrong. I committed to my PhD program back when I gave up my employment, got rid of two thirds of my belongings, moved the remaining third clear across the country, and accepted a lower standard of living — all to pursue a step towards my dream job.
But I hadn’t committed myself completely. I was busy with so many different things, all of them valuable but not all of them conducive to my commitment. Complete commitment is always reflected in completely prioritized time pursuing it.
Once I made that complete commitment in how I would spend my time, that’s when freedom swept over me. That’s when I felt I had the time I needed to do what was needed. That’s when I felt I could truly achieve my potential.
Align with happiness
Too many never do that. Even if they have a purpose they say they pursue, they aren’t really chasing after it. Instead, they chase after proof.
By proof, I mean evidence they’re accepted. They devote more time and energy to acquiring validation and belonging than to any life purpose. And by going off the path of their purpose, they go off the path of their potential.
We all have a deep-seated need for acceptance. We all want to belong, and we all want to be loved. There’s nothing wrong with those desires. But there is something wrong with not prioritizing your potential.
And here’s what’s wrong with it. You’re leaving happiness on the table. You think you’re chasing happiness, but you’ll never capture it by seeking to have something. Happiness isn’t about having; it’s about giving. Happiness is giving your all to all the right things for you. And one of those right things is achieving your potential.
Pursue your potential
Let’s look at an example. What do typical LDS singles do with their time, especially the time they aren’t compelled to do anything? Many spend their so-called “free time” consuming content or soaking in social media, looking for love and belonging, pursuing proof not purpose.
Happiness doesn’t come from having that special someone or having social media likes or indeed having anything. Happiness isn’t about having; it’s about giving. That’s why pursuing your potential is linked to happiness. The more of your potential you achieve, the more you have to give and the more happy you can be.
And you maximize your happiness by committing completely to your purpose, a commitment you demonstrate with the time you devote to that commitment. So take a look at how you spend your time and make adjustments where needed. Chase purpose, not proof. You’ll find yourself feeling more free and more connected with the Lord. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Everything works that way. We all dream of having our best life, but to have that life, you must pay a price in faith, diligence, patience, and longsuffering in daily doing the small acts that over time will aggregate into a harvest of success. Most people don’t do that because it’s hard. But that’s precisely why it’s worth doing. With great diligence, you can have the positive changes you want in your life.
Diligent in faith
Success isn’t complicated. Do the right things day after day, and eventually you get what you want. But like the seed in Alma’s parable, you don’t reap a harvest overnight. And that’s probably the hardest part of achieving success.
We all have changes we want in our lives. But taking action day after day and not seeing the results you want can wear you down. Many quit the fight too soon. Because only action produces results, quitting the fight means taking no action, which means getting no results. So what can keep you in the fight when it gets hard?
Alma provides an answer. He mentions diligence, but first he mentions faith. And that’s what can pull you through. With a vision of your life after you pay your price for what you want, you can keep on keeping on.
I’ve used that in my PhD program. As I’ve felt the challenge increase, I remember teaching as an adjunct and relive how good it felt to work my dream job. My faith that overcoming my present difficulty will get me closer to the result I seek drives me through the difficulty. So it is with anything in life. Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel is really the other side of the mountain and not an oncoming train can help you push forward no matter how bleak your present position.
Diligent in patience
As you push on in the darkness of the moment, the difficulty separating you from your desired best life isn’t just in doing what’s needed everyday but also in having to wait for results to materialize. We all want results on our schedule, and our schedule often screams now.
So it’s not surprising Alma, to faith and diligence, adds patience. It takes patience to nourish a seed into maturity. Part of the price you’ll pay for what you want is in patience. You must take the small steps required day after day, continually putting forth effort with faith those results will come, especially when they don’t come instantly.
Faith helps me have patience, but so does celebrating small wins. Recognizing a victory, no matter how small, helps me feel I’m making progress and moving closer to my best life.
Having patience in the overall journey and not just the task before me also helps. When one approach fails, I don’t lose hope. I have faith the approach I need exists, and I keep searching with the determination to do so until I find the approach that will work for me.
Diligent in longsuffering
That attitude necessitates a lot of trial and error, which requires longsuffering. Often you must pay your price over a long time without seeing desired results. Little wonder Alma includes longsuffering in his parable of the seed.
Suffering must be endured; it makes your harvest much more precious. But suffering doesn’t mean you must be miserable. You can have sincere joy while suffering if you strengthen your faith and focus on the blessings and opportunities along your way.
Whatever positive changes you want can be yours if you pay in full and in advance the price you must pay. That requires diligence in doing the small daily actions that over time will accumulate into your success. But you also need faith to see the glory awaiting you, patience to allow the natural workings of the universe to operate, and longsuffering to endure well the time before results come. With those three attributes married to diligence, you can make whatever positive change you want. You can have your best life. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Yet in other respects, I feel like I’m worse, especially when compared with what I’d expect to be at this point in my life. As I think about why I’m where I am, I realize I’m no different than anyone else. We do what we want.
Tony Robbins once said, “Change is never a matter of ability. It’s always a matter of motivation.” If you really want to make a change in life, you simply make the change. It’s never a matter of ability because, if you want it bad enough, you’ll find a way to do it.
So despite the volume of our protestations, we all do have the life we really want. My life is where it is because that’s where I want it to be. I see a change I think I want in my life, and I think I want it because it appears to give me something desirable. But in reality I have the life I truly desire most, because results come only from actions, and I chose the actions that have given me the results I have.
Still, I keep returning to the question of making changes in my life because what I have truly desired does not completely satisfy. Why then do I not make the changes that will give me that different life? I have ability to change but not sufficient motivation. I’m just too comfortable where I am now.
I think many of us live in this same rut. We don’t really do what we need to do to achieve positive change because we’re far too comfortable with out present life. Pursuing positive change opens the door to problems and challenges involving pain and confusion. I think all of us have enough of those not to want any more.
At the same time, there’s no reward without risk. You can’t really feel the deep joy of love without opening your heart to betrayal and loss. You can’t lose weight without exposing yourself to pain and discomfort a new diet might bring or to the exhaustion and injury that exercise can inflict. You can’t experience the good results from being out in the world without exposing yourself to the bad things that happen to people every single day.
Many of us sense these risks and pull away. We want safe, sure, guaranteed. So we stay in our comfort zones, yearning to get out but never wanting to do what will get us out. We’re just not motivated enough. We’re doing what we want.
So how then do you get motivated enough to change? I think we’ll all have our own answer, but I do see one common thread that could tie all those individual answers together. You get to a point where you won’t tolerate not having the change any longer.
You just get sick and tired of being sick and tired. You make a decision — a real decision, one in which you cut yourself off from every possible outcome except the one you pre-determine. You put your all into producing the actions that will produce that pre-determined result. And to keep yourself motivated, you surround yourself with like-minded go-getters who’ll support you in going after your best life.
Not everyone will do that, but either way, we do what we want. We have the results we have because of the action we’ve taken, and we take that action because that’s what we really want to do. If you really want to do something different that’ll produce different results in your life, then you’ll do that. Hitting rock bottom could be the greatest blessing ever, because there you can more easily find your motivation to do something different. As you then decide not to tolerate anything less than your absolute best, you’ll get yourself on the path to your absolute best life. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Most people, single or married, simply accept what they're given. They don't chase what they want. The result is they often don't get what they want. And not getting what they want, they end up unhappy. They settle for a life far beneath their privileges.
It doesn't have to be that way for anyone. And yes, anyone includes YOU! I don't care what's happened to you or where you're from or how old you are or any of that business. Results come from one thing and one thing only, and that's action. Period. Take the same actions, you get the same results. Take different actions, you get different results.
Once you stop over-thinking it and just accept the simplicity of that truth, it's easier to see other truths, like the need to own your life. After all, if your results come from your actions, then the only way your life gets better is with better actions. And that means accepting responsibility for how your life results and start choosing actions that will produce the results you want.
Most don't really struggle with grasping the Law of the Harvest. They know they need more effective actions to get more effective results. What many struggle with are the details. They don't know exactly what actions are the more effective ones. "What specific actions," they ask, "do I need to take to get the specific results I want?"
If you're asking that question, understand you'll never know the answer you should have for that question if you don't get your thinking right. Sound bonkers? It's still completely true. We don't just act; we're not hardwired that way. We're biologically hardwired to play out habit. And that means some thinking had to occur before we took any action.
Without understanding why you've chosen to act as you have in the past, you won't know what you need to choose in the future to get different results. Understanding the connection between what you've done and what you got will help you know what changes you need in what you do to get changes in what you get.
One of my favorite scenes in the film Jack Reacher is when Jack is in Helen's office helping her understand why her client is innocent. To open her mind to new possibilities, Jack has Helen look at people working late in a neighboring building. He slowly steps her through seeing through new eyes what she's seen before too many times to count. And he does it by entertaining an important philosophical question of what it truly means to be free.
True freedom exists in how you think. Changing how you think lets you see more clearly the connections between what you've done and what you got. You can see new possibilities for getting something different. You can see the changes you need in yourself to embrace those possibilities. And you can see how that future can be yours regardless of what's happened to you or where you're from or how old you are or any of that business.
Break yourself free of a life far less than the one you're capable of living. God gave you agency so you could choose for yourself what you'll do. Choose to learn the connections between how you think, what you do, and what you get. Then choose to leverage that knowledge in better actions designed to yield better results. When you consistently choose to plant and nurture seeds of more effective action, over time you'll reap a harvest of more effective results. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
I’m thankful President Oaks publicly declared those ideas. I’m also thankful he focused on eternal principles throughout his remarks, especially the principle of moral agency. The Constitution certainly isn’t perfect, but it does support that society most free to exercise agency. Thus, we should all be defending our Constitution, despite its flaws and limitations.
Understand the threats to agency
President Oaks began his remarks by establishing his authority. A former clerk to the chief justice of the US Supreme Court, law professor, and justice on the Utah Supreme Court, he’s certainly more than amply qualified to have a platform.
But the qualification he listed last and “most important” intrigued me most. He’s been an Apostle of Jesus Christ for 37 years. As President Oaks described, that means he’s “responsible to study the meaning of the divinely inspired United States Constitution to the work of His restored Church.”
Here he segues into a discussion of moral agency. God inspired the Founding Fathers to assemble a system of government that would maximize the exercise of moral agency. And as we know, agency is key in our Heavenly Father’s eternal plan for His children. Defending the Constitution therefore promotes God’s plan of happiness.
President Oaks then mentioned some of the threats to the undergirding principles of the Constitution. Said he,
The threats to the Constitution, and by extension to our Heavenly Father’s plan, are very real and very much growing.
Learn and perform your duty
So can we do about it? What should we do to defend the Constitution? President Oaks provides some answers. I love how he starts by encouraging optimism, declaring “we should trust in the Lord and be positive about this nation’s future.”
Founded in faith and positive thinking, we should pray for leaders in all nations and then seek to exercise a righteous influence civilly, peacefully, and legally. Also, in these divisive times, “we should seek to moderate and unify.”
These days, everyone loves to talk about their rights and what they’re entitled to receive. But few speak of their duties and what they should give. It’s people performing their duties that make the rights of all available. That’s why I applaud President Oaks in listing three duties every good citizen has.
That power-packed list reveals more I need to do to support the Constitution. And I love how President Oaks reiterated King Benjamin’s counsel not to do everything at once (Mosiah 4:27). We all have different seasons in life, and the combination of actions appropriate in one season may not be appropriate in another.
Get busy doing your part
Let’s truly celebrate Independence Day by defending our Constitution. Perhaps the best place for you to start is where I’m starting — by reading and becoming more familiar with the actual document itself. Or perhaps you need to consider running for a position in an upcoming election. Or maybe you need to call or email an elected official about a current issue.
What you do today may not be what you do tomorrow, but we should always be doing something. The threats to the Constitution President Oaks described have grown precisely because far too many of us have been doing nothing in civic life. We’ve been busy focusing on our careers, our loved ones, and our own lives, and enough responsible people have been so absorbed in that busyness that we’ve allowed irresponsible people to hold office.
The Constitution has imperfections, but one thing it does right is give ultimate power to the people. Let’s celebrate the birth of our nation by learning about and then committing to safeguard that power. And the best way to safeguard it is to exercise it civilly, peacefully, and legally. When we persist in so doing, we can enjoy the fruits of freedom to exercise the moral agency essential to God’s plan and preserve that gift for the next generation. And that will bring us more joy in our journey.
Take God’s approach to the Creation, for example. He knew what He wanted, and He took action to make it happen. He didn’t sit around believing everything would somehow work out just because He was righteous. He took action that brought about what He wanted.
Likewise, you can sit around and pretend the blessings you want will come simply because you’re righteous. Or you can follow God’s example and take action to create your best life.
Own your life
I love how the Creation starts the scriptural record. That placement reinforces the metaphor that story is for creating your best life. And anyone can follow God’s example to do just that.
God didn’t simply start creating. He worked from a plan requiring action. In so doing, God took responsibility for producing desired results. And He remained resolute in executing that plan. How is simply staying on the covenant path hoping your blessings come “when the time is right” working from an action plan? That choice places responsibility for how your life results in God’s hands. That’s not the example God set.
To follow God’s example, own your life. Don’t push responsibility for the results in your life to anyone else. You take responsibility for your results in your life. Every result you want in life comes by obedience to its respective principle (D&C 130:20-21). Only action produces results. So get your action plan together and start taking action.
Include the right people
Many LDS singles stop here. They just don’t know the specific actions they need to take in order to produce the result they desire. It’s hard to have a plan when you don’t know what to put in the plan.
Again, let’s “look to God and live” (Alma 37:47). God had helpers during the Creation. He gave them His vision of what He wanted, and then He worked with them as they together performed the Creation. God didn’t work alone and didn’t force anyone to do what He wanted. Instead, He exercised His influence and respected agency.
You shouldn’t go it alone, either. Make sure you include the right people in your action plan who’ll help you achieve your results. Of course, the most important helper in your plan should be the Lord. When you partner with Him, He can help you make more out of your life than you can without Him.
And there’s others you should consider. Family, friends, and Church leaders can provide valuable support along your journey. Especially helpful is an advocate, someone who provides counsel, support, and accountability for specific actions. Some will trust their bishop or a ministering brother or sister with that role. Others might look to a sibling or special friend. Still others might find that help in Joy in the Journey Radio, and we’re here for you if that’s your choice.
Do you see how just going through the motions of being righteous and waiting for the “right time” doesn’t match how God acts? Following His example of taking ownership, developing a plan, and then securing a team to work towards a common result will more likely produce the best life we all seek.
And yes, not everyone will be on board. Some people will disappoint you, but let’s again look to God’s example. He always respected agency. He never forced anyone to help Him achieve His plan. Instead, He chose to act in ways that would influence others positively in their choices. You can do likewise. As you achieve your potential by making needed changes in you, you can radiate an energy that will influence others positively in their choices.
So quit sitting on the sidelines and get in the game of life! You’ll never score any points unless you’re on the field. Don’t sit around pretending the blessings you want will come simply because you’re righteous. Follow God’s example, own your life, get your plan together, and take action to create your best life. When you take responsibility for your results and then take the right actions, you’ll get the right results. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
But you get to choose your identity. You choose who and what you’ll be. Understanding this principle is key to making positive changes in your life. If you want to live your best life, learn how identity precedes behavior.
Understand the source
You always act consistent with who you think you are. And you’ll always feel good about yourself when who you think you are is who you think you should be.
This is self esteem, how well your self image (how you see yourself) matches your self ideal (how you think you should be). When you live up to what you think you should be, how you see yourself matches how you think you should be, yielding high self esteem. Conversely, when you see yourself very differently than what you think you should be, your self image and your self ideal don’t match. That mismatch creates a dissonance you feel as low self esteem.
Matches don’t require exactness. You don’t need to see yourself exactly as you idealize yourself. You can see yourself as mostly there and have a healthy self esteem provided you forgive yourself for coming up short. Lacking that forgiveness leads to a rigid disposition that prevents a robust sense of mental health. As in other areas of life, you don’t need perfect, just good enough.
Understand the choice
Understanding these ideas sets the stage for positive change. But to effect that change, you need to add agency into the mix.
You choose whether or not you have self-esteem. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter how well your self image matches your self ideal. That’s not the way it works. We’re all built to operate based on the match between our self image and our self ideal. But you can choose your self ideal. And you can choose to bridge whatever gap exists between your self image and your self ideal.
Our culture hands us norms that we then adopt in constructing our self ideal. For many singles, for example, that includes being married by a certain age. If you aren’t married by then, it’s easy to get down on yourself because your self image (seeing yourself as single) doesn’t match your self ideal (you should be married by now). Low self esteem leads to feeling worthless, and you won’t think any effort worthwhile when you see yourself as worthless.
But you can choose your self ideal, one that doesn’t necessitate being married by a certain age. And you can choose to bridge the gap by taking action — learn the fundamentals of the dating journey and then change yourself to become more agreeable to a potential partner.
Make your choice
When it comes to bridging the gap, Christ is the ultimate bridge builder. His Atonement allows all to cross the chasm between how we see ourselves in mortality and what we can be in the eternities. Christ can help you achieve your greatest potential.
He does this by transforming you inside, effectively changing your identity. He lifts your vision towards a higher standard and provides strength to lift your performance to match that standard. In essence, he changes your self image to match a higher self ideal.
In contrast, the world would have us lower our standards to match lower performance. Rejecting covenant living may appease the natural man and woman, but only covenant living yields the fulfillment of eternal growth. Settling for low performance always invites a medium of mediocrity. Christ wants to raise us out of that mire into a more glorious state of being.
We all want positive change in life, but you won’t act inconsistent with how you see yourself. Identity precedes behavior. So partner with the Lord and let Him lift your self image to eternal heights and strengthen you to do the daily tasks your positive change requires. Laying your daily brick will eventually result in the very fine structure that is your best life. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
That’s because if you always get back up and keep pressing forward, sooner or later you’ll achieve your goals and live your dreams. You don’t get that staying down. So if you’ve been knocked down, get back up and let the journey begin again.
Always get back up
It is about the journey, after all. The destination is essential in that it determines the direction; it sets the course for your sails. But no destination ever changed anyone. It’s the journey that does that.
And it does that job well, but only if you embrace it, only if you choose to be changed by it. If you stay down when life knocks you down, you essentially choose to stay separated from the destination embodied in your goals and dreams. You essentially choose to stay unchanged.
But when you get back up after life knocks you down, when you refuse to stay defeated, you choose to be changed by your challenges into something that overcomes those challenges. Is it easy? Of course not. If it were, everyone would be doing it. Most don’t do it because they aren’t willing to pay the price for what they want. They prefer the easy choice of staying down. They prefer the fade out of failure to the surge of success.
Perhaps they console themselves in being normal. Everyone does fail, after all. So failure doesn’t make you defective or deficient. It just says you’re normal.
Even those who succeed start out as failures, and many of them failed over and over ad nauseam. Take Stephen King, for instance, one of the most prolific and popular American authors from the last century. Publishers rejected his first book Carrie 30 times. And when that 30th rejection came, King was so disheartened he promptly placed his draft in the circular file.
Life had knocked King down, and left to his own devices, he would’ve chosen to stay down. But he wasn’t alone. His wife removed the draft from the circular file, handed it back to him, and asked, “Why don’t you try just one more time?” That one more time was all King needed. He published his first novel, and the rest is history.
Every success story I’ve ever encountered goes the same way. Everyone fails initially, and often abysmally. But those who succeed choose not to stay down when life knocks them down. They pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and start all over again. They rise and declare, “Let the journey begin.” And off they go to begin again.
Just start over
All of us can do that, and yes, that includes you. And here’s the best part. You don’t need to wait for the first day of the week, month, or year to begin choosing better. Every day offers the opportunity to begin again. So if you’re normal and find yourself knocked to the ground before January is through, just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start over again.
Did you fall off that exercise train you committed to ride at the start of the year? Hop back on. If you messed up that diet, forgive yourself and get back on it. Trying to gain a new skill and missed a day or two or more? Pick up where you left off. Struggling with adopting some new positive habit? Keep struggling, keep fighting, and every time you fail keep starting over.
Whatever goal you set for yourself this year, don’t let failure settle you back into staying your old you. Let the journey begin again. Embracing the confrontation with challenge lets you grow into something that transcends your challenge. You’ll probably fail countless times, and that’s OK. Just keep punching. Keep getting back up every time you get knocked down, and eventually you will succeed. You’ll achieve your goals, you’ll live your dreams, and however many failures you had won’t matter at all. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and since 2018 I've been producing a weekly Internet radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
Joy in the Journey Radio encourages the free discussion of ideas but reserves the right to remove and/or block comments which do not conform to LDS standards.
Joy in the Journey Radio offers many free resources to help LDS singles everywhere, but it certainly isn't free! Help Joy in the Journey Radio in its mission to improve the lives of LDS singles by donating today.
Posts by Month