"Mediocrity will never do"

I love these remarks given by President Gordon B. Hinckely at the inauguration of President Cecil O. Samuelson, President of BYU:

There is a sign on the gate of this campus that reads: “Enter to learn; go forth to serve.” I invite you, every one of you, to make that your motto. Mediocrity will never do. You are capable of something better. Give it your very best. You will never again have such an opportunity. Pray about it. Work at it. Make it happen. Drink in the great knowledge here to be obtained from this dedicated faculty. Qualify yourselves for the work of the world that lies ahead. It will largely compensate you in terms of what it thinks you are worth. Walk the high road of charity, respect, and love for others and particularly those who are less fortunate. Be happy. Look for the sunlight in life. Reach for the stars.

Remarks at the Inauguration of President Cecil O. Samuelson, 9 September 2003

Not Taking Counsel From Our Fears

I have been intrigued by the idea that we should “not take counsel from our fears,” and have some sources for this quote, through I am sure I do not have them all.  The first is from President Thomas S. Monson, given at a 7 September 2003 CES Fireside:

There are all sorts of people who are willing to alibi or to make excuse for a failure. During World War II, a vital decision was made by one of the great leaders of the Allied military, Viscount Slim from Great Britain. He made this statement after a defeat occurred in a battle for Khartoum in 1940 against the Italians: “I could find plenty of excuses for failure, but only one reason—myself. When two courses of action were open to me I had not chosen, as a good commander should, the bolder. I had taken counsel of my fears” (William Slim, Unofficial History (1959), 148). My young brothers and sisters, don’t take counsel of your fears. Don’t say to yourselves, “I’m not wise enough, or I can’t apply myself sufficiently well to study this difficult subject or in this difficult field, so I shall choose the easier way.” I plead with you to tax your talent, and our Heavenly Father will make you equal to those decisions. In this life, where we have opportunities to strive and to achieve, I bear witness that on occasion we need to make a second effort—and a third effort, and a fourth effort, and as many degrees of effort as may be required to accomplish what we strive to achieve. There is much importance attached to our three questions: What will be my faith? Whom shall I marry? What will be my life’s work? I am so grateful that we need not make those decisions without eternal help. We can have the guidance and the direction of our Heavenly Father if we strive to receive it.                  

From President James E. Faust, spoken in a 7 May 2006 CES Fireside at the University of Utah: Continue reading