Today’s inspiration is drawn from President Hartman Rector, Jr.’s enlightening discourse during April 1973. In his talk, President Rector delved into the intricate concept of success, challenging our preconceived notions and shedding light on the path to genuine happiness and fulfillment.
What is success? It’s a question that has intrigued, puzzled, and eluded humanity throughout history. Success means different things to different people. It’s a deeply personal and often misunderstood concept. The dictionary attempts to define it as “the favorable termination of a venture,” suggesting that it’s associated with risk and daring. Another definition speaks of “the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence,” a perspective that dominates modern society.
We often label individuals as successful if they appear prosperous, wealthy, or at the pinnacle of their careers. Doctors, lawyers, financiers, politicians, athletes—these are some of the professions where the term “success” is frequently applied. But is material wealth the true measure of success?
Success, it turns out, is more a state of mind than a destination. It’s a concept that defies a one-size-fits-all definition. Henry Clay once said he’d rather be right than president, implying that being right equates to success. Yet, he ran for the presidency three times and lost each time. This paradox tells us that success is often subjective.
The Lord’s perspective on success, as revealed in the Book of Mormon, offers a refreshing insight. It’s rooted in the pursuit of joy. In 2 Nephi 2:24-25, we find the words: “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” According to this divine definition, success must encompass the attainment of genuine joy and happiness. Therefore, no one is truly successful unless they are happy.
If happiness is the yardstick of success, then it’s essential to understand its foundation. In our pursuit of success, we often stumble upon unhappiness due to our dissatisfaction with what we have. The cure for this malady is gratitude. A happy person is invariably a thankful person. As the Prophet Joseph Smith once put it, “doubt and faith cannot exist in the same person at the same time.”
Consider this: Have you ever encountered a genuinely happy person who wasn’t thankful for what they had? Gratitude is the antidote to unhappiness. Success and unhappiness cannot coexist within the same individual.
Many of us associate success with material possessions. Modern advertising relentlessly promotes the idea that happiness is contingent on accumulating more. We’re made to believe that a new house, a fancy car, or the latest gadgets will fill the void within us. But the truth is far from it.
James Russell Lowell aptly noted, “Earth gets its price from what Earth gives us.” In our quest for happiness, it’s imperative to recognize that everything comes at a price. There are no shortcuts, and “something for nothing” is a mere illusion. Life’s purpose is to teach us the universal law: as you sow, so shall you reap.
Life on Earth is a grand classroom where we learn this fundamental lesson—everything has its price. Pursuing ephemeral bubbles of materialism, thinking they’ll bring us happiness, is a futile endeavor. These bubbles are akin to the material possessions the world deems essential for happiness—a new house, a new car, or various luxuries.
Elder ElRay L. Christiansen shares a story of a neighbor who bought a boat using a credit card he couldn’t afford. To pay for it, he took on a second job, which left him with only one day a week to enjoy his beloved boat—Sunday. This tale humorously illustrates how our pursuit of material possessions can lead to ironic outcomes.
The scriptures and the teachings of living prophets unequivocally emphasize where genuine happiness resides—within the family. President David O. McKay profoundly stated, “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” This truth should resonate deeply with all of us.
President Harold B. Lee further emphasized that the most significant work we will ever do is within the walls of our own homes. Our Heavenly Father, the Father of the human family, places tremendous importance on families. We belong to Him, and He has ordained families as the foundational unit of His Church and the path to exaltation in His celestial kingdom.
To achieve eternal success and happiness, the path inevitably leads to the sacred altar of the temple. In these hallowed places, families are sealed for time and all eternity, becoming “one” in the Lord’s eyes. The importance of this sacred ordinance cannot be overstated, as it ensures the continuation of family ties beyond this life.
Our Heavenly Father’s desire for us is clear: He wants us to be happy. He established families as the cornerstone of His plan. Happiness is the ultimate goal, and obedience to His commandments is the key to attaining it. Success and happiness are intertwined, and they are both found through righteousness.
As we contemplate the profound message of true success, let us reflect on our own lives. Are we pursuing materialistic bubbles or seeking the path to eternal happiness within our families? Are we grateful for what we have, or are we constantly dissatisfied with our possessions?
In a world filled with conflicting philosophies, birth control debates, and misconceptions about what leads to happiness, let us turn our hearts to the Lord and follow His living prophets. Our goal should be eternal success and joy. Link to the original: Click Here
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