Measuring performance, dealing with specifics

When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates.
Thomas S. Monson, October General Conference, 1970

Generalities simply will not do. When we deal in generalities, we will never have a success; but as we deal in specifics, we will rarely have a failure.
Thomas S. Monson, “The Aaronic Priesthood Pathway,” Ensign, Nov 1984, 41

Abandon a doubt, gain a truth; have the best Christmas ever

If we are to have the very best Christmas ever, we must listen for the sound of sandaled feet. We must reach out for the Carpenter’s hand. With every step we take in His footsteps, we abandon a doubt and gain a truth.

It was said of Jesus of Nazareth that He “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” Do we have the determination to do likewise? One line of holy writ contains a tribute to our Lord and Savior, of whom it was said, He “went about doing good … ; for God was with him.”

My prayer is that at this Christmas season and all the Christmastimes to come, we may follow in His footsteps. Then each Christmas will be the best Christmas ever.

Thomas S. Monson, “The Best Christmas Ever,” Liahona, Dec 2008, 2–6

Pres. Monson on Scouting

Youth need fewer critics and more models. One wise builder of faith counseled, ‘It does not pay to scold. I believe you can get people to do anything, if you can get them to do it at all, by loving them into doing it.’ . . .
“We are builders of boys and menders of men. In doing so, we remember that the greatest verb in the vocabulary is to love; the second is to help.

“It is the mission of the Boy Scouts of America to serve others by helping to instill values in young people and, in other ways, to prepare them to make ethical choices over their lifetime in achieving their full potential.

“I commend you leaders of boys, for you demonstrate by your lives that the greatest gift a man can give a boy is his ‘willingness to share a part of his life with him’ ” (Church News, June 7, 2003, 4).

For statements from other church leaders, see this site.

Awakening men to God

A great quote from President Thomas S. Monson, then First Counselor in the First Presidency, given at October conference, 2004 (italics added):

Those who have felt the touch of the Master’s hand somehow cannot explain the change which comes into their lives. There is a desire to live better, to serve faithfully, to walk humbly, and to be more like the Savior. Having received their spiritual eyesight and glimpsed the promises of eternity, they echo the words of the blind man to whom Jesus restored sight: “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.”

How can we account for these miracles? Why the upsurge of activity in men long dormant? The poet, speaking of death, wrote, “God . . . touch’d him, and he slept.” I say, speaking of this new birth, “God touched them, and they awakened.”

Two fundamental reasons largely account for these changes of attitudes, of habits, of actions.

First, men have been shown their eternal possibilities and have made the decision to achieve them. They cannot really long rest content with mediocrity once excellence is within their reach.

Second, other men and women and, yes, young people have followed the admonition of the Savior and have loved their neighbors as themselves and helped to bring their neighbors’ dreams to fulfillment and their ambitions to realization.

The catalyst in this process has been the principle of love.

The passage of time has not altered the capacity of the Redeemer to change men’s lives. As He said to the dead Lazarus, so He says to you and to me, “Come forth.” I add: Come forth from the despair of doubt. Come forth from the sorrow of sin. Come forth from the death of disbelief. Come forth to a newness of life.

Challenging every capacity

David O. McKay
Our prophets and leaders have continually encouraged us to be our best. Here’s another quote on this subject:

“Find a purpose in life so big it will challenge every capacity to be at your best.”
David O. Mckay

This reminds me of President Monson’s encouragement: “I plead with you to tax your talent…”, as well as other quotes in the category “Excellence.”

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