Formula for Success

By Elder Earl M. Monson

Of the Seventy

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A valid formula will produce successful results every time and for everyone. You just have to follow it. Try this one and see.

Elder Earl M. Monson

Life provides a wonderful opportunity to seek our talents and interests. It is well to remember, however, that “all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God” (D&C 46:11). In our searching, it is important to seek guidance of the Spirit to discover skills we should develop.

Once we’ve decided what we really want to do, the Lord has given us a formula for achieving our eternal and temporal goals: “For he will give unto the faithful line upon line, precept upon precept; and I will try you and prove you herewith” (D&C 98:12).

Four parts

There are four parts to this wonderful formula for living.

First, the Lord reminds us that real success will only come only to the faithful—those who have sincere determination to achieve their goal.

The second part of the formula reminds us that learning is often a slow process and comes line upon line, one step at a time. The Lord offers kind encouragement when He says, “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33). We must learn to be patient with ourselves while pushing to new levels of achievement or knowledge. It is important to take time occasionally to remind ourselves of what we are trying to do.

Third, we are to be tried. As we pursue our goals, we may meet difficulties or distractions. Other people may ridicule our efforts. Or maybe we will find it difficult to understand or use what we have learned. There may even be temptations to give up.

But, if we can just persist, the proof or benefits of our efforts will eventually come to us, which is the fourth part of the formula. In some cases the rewards may be improved skills or greater knowledge. Perhaps we will be better qualified for a good job.

Following the formula

It is interesting to note this formula can be used in almost any type of development. A young man may yearn for bigger muscles. If he persists in a good exercise program, he will find his muscles will develop slowly and sometimes painfully. Many young women want to be able to prepare a lovely meal only to find they must learn several skills, practice them, and perhaps experience some failures before they succeed. They are tried before the proof of their efforts is apparent.

Of utmost importance in using this process is when we use it to live as the Lord has taught us. Those who first seek the kingdom of God can “receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal” (D&C 42:61).

Begin with some vision and much determination to do good. Be patient and humble as you try to learn one true precept after another. As you do so, you will find more self-confidence and increased faith in the Lord. You will find you don’t really understand a gospel principle until you live it. Paying tithing may be difficult for some even though the Lord has made great promises to those who do so. When it comes into a person’s mind and heart to pay an honest tithing out of appreciation, love, and obedience, then he begins to understand what the Lord has been promising him.

A life of inner peace

Although we may be tried to see how determined we are to live each new principle, if we persevere, the windows of heaven truly open in many ways and our proving takes place. Our faith in the Savior and trust in His words will continue to grow. We will find the most desirable of all our goals will take the most determination to achieve but will be worth every effort.

The most important thing in using this wonderful formula is deciding what it is we want to achieve. This process can work in reverse and bring loss of spirituality if we are not careful. If we commit sins, we are tried with feelings of regret and remorse. And if we don’t heed those feelings and change, further sins come more easily. The result is withdrawal of the Spirit and loss of potential blessings.

We see evidence of the successful use of this formula all around us. There are many examples in the scriptures, in the lives of our ancestors, and in many great people living today. A life with inner peace and happiness can also be ours if we are willing to earn it. It is marvelous to develop this way of living while you are still very young. You have many years to develop even further great spiritual strength and understanding by applying what the Lord has taught us.

My prayer for you is that you will understand how you can earn the remarkable blessings awaiting you by using the help given by our dear Savior. He truly lives and loves us far more than most of us can even imagine. He has done everything He can to help us know how to live our lives well. We just need to be determined, learn truth step by step, be patient but persevere, and then eventually we will enjoy His blessings. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Cor. 2:9).

Photography by Robert Casey