At the advent of a new year, I challenge Latter-day Saints everywhere to undertake a personal, diligent, significant quest for what I call the abundant life—a life filled with an abundance of success, goodness, and blessings. Just as we learned the ABCs in school, I offer my own ABCs to help us all gain the abundant life.

Have a Positive Attitude

A in my ABCs refers to attitude. William James, a pioneering American psychologist and philosopher, wrote, “The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”1

So much in life depends on our attitude. The way we choose to see things and respond to others makes all the difference. To do the best we can and then to choose to be happy about our circumstances, whatever they may be, can bring peace and contentment.

Charles Swindoll—author, educator, and Christian pastor—said: “Attitude, to me, is more important than … the past, … than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.”2

We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. For maximum happiness, peace, and contentment, may we choose a positive attitude.

Believe in Yourself

B is for believe—in yourself, in those around you, and in eternal principles.

Be honest with yourself, with others, and with your Heavenly Father. One who was not honest with God until it was too late was Cardinal Wolsey who, according to Shakespeare, spent a long life in service to three sovereigns and enjoyed wealth and power. Finally, he was shorn of his power and possessions by an impatient king. Cardinal Wolsey cried:

Had I but served my God with half the zeal

I served my king, He would not in mine age

Have left me naked to mine enemies.3

Thomas Fuller, an English churchman and historian who lived in the 17th century, penned this truth: “He does not believe that does not live according to his belief.”4

Don’t limit yourself and don’t let others convince you that you are limited in what you can do. Believe in yourself and then live so as to reach your possibilities.

You can achieve what you believe you can. Trust and believe and have faith.

Face Challenges with Courage

C is for courage. Courage becomes a worthwhile and meaningful virtue when it is regarded not so much as a willingness to die manfully but as a determination to live decently.

Said the American essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide on, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.”5

There will be times when you will be frightened and discouraged. You may feel that you are defeated. The odds of obtaining victory may appear overwhelming. At times you may feel like David trying to fight Goliath. But remember—David did win!

Courage is required to make an initial thrust toward one’s coveted goal, but even greater courage is called for when one stumbles and must make a second effort to achieve.

Have the determination to make the effort, the single-mindedness to work toward a worthy goal, and the courage not only to face the challenges that inevitably come but also to make a second effort, should such be required. “Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”6

May we remember these ABCs as we begin our journey into the new year, cultivating a positive attitude, a belief that we can achieve our goals and resolutions, and the courage to face whatever challenges may come our way. Then the abundant life will be ours.

Teaching from This Message

Consider inviting family members to share personal experiences when a positive attitude, belief in themselves, or courage helped them. Or invite them to find examples of these three principles in the scriptures. You might prepare to teach by prayerfully thinking of scriptures or experiences of your own.

Illustrations by Steve Kropp

Show References

Notes

  1. 1.

    William James, in Lloyd Albert Johnson, comp., A Toolbox for Humanity: More Than 9000 Years of Thought (2003), 127.

  2. 2.

    Charles Swindoll, in Daniel H. Johnston, Lessons for Living (2001), 29.

  3. 3.

    William Shakespeare, King Henry the Eighth, act 3, scene 2, lines 456–58.

  4. 4.

    Thomas Fuller, in H. L. Mencken, ed., A New Dictionary of Quotations (1942), 96.

  5. 5.

    Ralph Waldo Emerson, in Roy B. Zuck, The Speaker’s Quote Book (2009), 113.

  6. 6.

    Mary Anne Radmacher, Courage Doesn’t Always Roar (2009). Note: In the January 2012 First Presidency Message, “Living the Abundant Life,” we initially failed to attribute the quotation to Mary Anne Radmacher. We apologize for any harm the oversight may have caused.