Our choice to act is the only real means of learning

It’s only those who do nothing that make no mistakes, I suppose.
Joseph Conrad, An Outcast of the Islands (1896), Pt. 3, Ch. 2

Those who do make mistakes, those who do nothing make no progress.

Chi fa falla, e chi non fa sfarfalla.
English translation: Those who act make mistakes; and those who do nothing really blunder.

Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.

Government cannot give anything to anybody that it doesn’t first take

You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the industrious out of it. You don’t multiply wealth by dividing it. Government cannot give anything to anybody that it doesn’t first take from somebody else. Whenever somebody receives something without working for it, somebody else has to work for it without receiving. The worst thing that can happen to a nation is for half of the people to get the idea they don’t have to work because somebody else will work for them, and the other half to get the idea that it does no good to work because they don’t get to enjoy the fruit of their labor.

Dr. Adrian Rogers, “Ten Secrets for a Successful Family” 1996

The privilege to work is a gift

In the words of Elder David O. McKay (1873–1970) when he was in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “Let us … realize that the privilege to work is a gift, that power to work is a blessing, that love to work is success” (in Conference Report, October 1909, 94; emphasis in original).

Work is therapy for the soul. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the gospel of work. I believe that much idleness we experience comes from misunderstanding the Atonement of the Lord. We cannot simply sit around and do nothing and expect to be successful in spiritual or temporal things. We need to do all that is in our power to accomplish our goals, and the Lord will make up the difference.

Remember the words of President Gordon B. Hinckley: “The major work of the world is not done by geniuses. It is done by ordinary people, with balance in their lives, who have learned to work in an extraordinary manner” (“Our Fading Civility,” Brigham Young University commencement address, 25 April 1996, 15).

Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Lessons Learned in the Journey of Life,” Liahona, May 2001, 35

Work first, play later

A note about Elder Dallin H. Oaks’ work habits:

Elder Oaks has often quoted his motto, “Work first, play later.” His family jokes that it is really “Work first, play never.”

“I don’t do anything for fun. I just have fun at what I do,” he explains.

“Time is a stewardship, and my goal is simply not to waste any.”

(Don L. Searle, “Elder Dallin H. Oaks: ‘It Begins by Following the Other Apostles’,” Ensign, Jun 1984, 15.)

I am afraid my family would say the same about me: work first, play never!

Elder Oaks repeated similar counsel to students at Brigham Young University, shortly after his call to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

“I know of no better words of advice on the subject of ceasing to be idle than to “work first and play after.” The discipline of forcing oneself to work first, until the job is completed–whether it be a daily assignment, a term paper, or other needed task–and only then to enjoy the pleasure of play, is a master secret of life. It bears immediate fruits in accomplishment, but its most important effects are long-range. In following this priority we learn self-discipline, which unlocks the door to undreamed-of accomplishments.

How do you spend your time? Are you the master of your time, or do others control it by flicking the switch on a television or by impromptu invitations to pleasures or diversions that you have no willpower to resist? Work first and play after.”

(Counsel for Students, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, BYU Devotional, 18 September 1984.)