Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882) wrote: “The future belongs to those who prepare for it.”
Life is full of choices. What we do with those choices decides our future. We must develop our talents and acquire skills, gain knowledge and learn the lessons of life… no matter what age we are. To achieve our goals, we must work hard by studying and learning all we can. Our goal is to take one step at a time until our dream is fulfilled. We should not compare ourselves to others, noticing their achievements and how quickly they obtained them. We should be concerned with our own growth.
“We are not endeavoring to get ahead of others, but to surpass ourselves.” –Hugh B. Brown (1883 – 1975)
Helen Keller (1880 – 1968) is a good example to us all. She was deaf and blind but never let that stop her progress. She didn’t want to be ignorant or live a life of mediocrity. She wanted to rise above her circumstances. She eventually went to Radcliff College and graduated magna cum laude, during a time when women were not encouraged to get a higher education. She said, “We can do anything we want to if we stick to it long enough.”
Each of us has something to contribute in this world and hopefully uplift others. We can do this by educating and improving ourselves. I like the way James E. Faust describes it.
“The Lord has a great work for each of us to do. You may wonder how this can be. You may feel that there is nothing special or superior about you or your ability… The Lord can do remarkable miracles with a person of ordinary ability who is humble, faithful, and diligent in serving the Lord and seeks to improve himself.” (James E. Faust, “On the Edge”, New Era, Feb. 1997, p. 4)
As we study and learn, we build character, qualities that make us distinctive. We must find out what kind of person we truly are. We might even find hidden talents we didn’t even know we had.
“Character development is the great, if not the sole, aim of education.” –William James O´Shea (Richard Evan’s Quote Book, Publishers Press, 1971, p. 76.)
Character development is an important part of life. That’s when we learn integrity, wisdom, responsibility, discipline, and to overcome prejudice. Our intellectual growth is as important as our spiritual growth.
“True education does not consist merely in the acquiring of a few facts of science, history, literature, or art; but in the development of character.” –David O. McKay (Conference Report, April 1928, 102)
Learning integrity is an important part of education. People will learn to trust us and listen to our advice. While hard work is important, attitude makes a person successful. If we have a deep belief in our cause, then we can accomplish anything. Men and women aren’t great by accident. It takes hard work and a belief in yourself.
Spencer W Kimball spoke about the importance of choices: “Life gives to all the choice. You can satisfy yourself with mediocrity, if you wish. You can be common, ordinary, dull, colorless; or you can channel your life so that it will be clean, vibrant, progressive, useful, colorful, rich.” (“Lesson 35: Wise Choices,” Young Women Manual 2, (1993), 134)
Remember that character development is valuable. Our life is full of choices. What we make of our life is up to us.
You are the person who has to decide.
Whether you’ll do it or toss it aside;
You are the person who makes up your mind.
Whether you’ll lead or will linger behind.
Whether you’ll try for the goal that’s afar.
Or be contented to stay where you are.”
— Edgar A Guest (1881 – 1959)