With the passing of another year we spend time reviewing accomplishments during the previous year. However, far too many of us dwell on items left unaccomplished. Somehow this exercise becomes our definition of success. If I accomplished all I hoped to, then… it was a successful year. If I fell short of accomplishing all I hoped to, then…
Might I suggest a new definition of success we may turn to when reviewing our past accomplishments? Let me frame it in the form of a question. “Did I make a difference?” The Lord’s plan, which includes a period of time called mortality, was intended to provide opportunity for growth. Growth includes the following elements.
The first element of making a difference is the obtainment of knowledge. The source of knowledge can be endless. The knowledge of greatest worth is that of eternal worth. This knowledge comes from an eternal source. Heavenly Father is the source of all truth and knowledge of eternal worth. Scriptures and teachings of the prophets are sources of eternal worth as well. The Lord also instructs and encourages secular knowledge: “…study and learn, and become acquainted with all good books…”
APPLICATION OF KNOWLEDGE
To gain knowledge is of little worth if we do not apply the knowledge we obtain. The framework for the application of knowledge is the creation of a plan. Through a plan, the application of knowledge benefits not only oneself but has the benefit of others as its primary purpose. Application of knowledge in this way contributes to our ability to make a difference. Our Father in Heaven followed this pattern for each of His children through the Eternal Plan of Happiness.
COMMIT AND RE-COMMIT
It is rare we find success through initial efforts alone. Our ability to make a difference is founded on commitment and then re-commitment. President Monson has stated, “No failure need be final.”
The true character of an individual is the ability to accept direction, correction, and guidance without personal offense. An African proverb reads, “If you want to go fast go alone. If you want to go far go together.” When we travel together we can make a difference. We will struggle to make a difference if we fail to accept counsel. “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings and he shall direct thy paths for good.” In Proverbs is written, “Where no counsel is, the people fall…”
As we enter into 2016, I pray that we may strive to make a difference in our lives and in the lives of others. May the Lord bless us in our efforts to do so.