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As a Man Thinketh

๐–๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐๐จ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ง๐ค ๐š๐›๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ?
“For as [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he” – Proverbs 23:7
The vast majority of Proverbs were written by King Solomon.
You will recall that he was regarded as one of the wisest men who ever lived.
Each concise proverb is designed to give us a deeper perspective on life, living, and in turn, hopefully better decision making!

My question then isโ€ฆ

โ€œIs this statement actually really true?โ€
Consciously or subconsciously our minds are always in motion.
โ€œYour thoughts are the architects of your destinyโ€ said David O. McKay.
The ability to learn, to think, to choose, and to reason, all define us as human beings.
I believe that our innate ability to think, goes much, much deeper.
Essentially, our thoughts become a reflection of who we really are.
Daily, we can choose to fill our minds with whatever we want.
And there is so much choice!
Good, Bad, Beautiful, Ugly, Happy, Sad, Clean, Unclean, Cheerful, Dreary, Hope, Despairโ€ฆ..
Whatever we choose to let into our minds will in turn, generally become the pattern of what will then transpire in our lives.
Who we are, and where we are, in life is principally the result of our own actions and choices, all of which begin in our minds as thoughts and desires.
If you think it long enough, you are very likely to do it.
Daily we choose.
Daily we act.
It is in our minds that our futures are made.
We are responsible for the thoughts we think and the purposes we pursue.
You are the master of them.
Controlling our thoughts helps us to conquer ourselves.
โ€œWhat we see triggers what we think, what we think influences what we desire, what we desire affects our actions, our combined actions determine our character, and our character determines our eternal destiny.โ€ โ€“ Dallin H. Oaks
Is your mind a happy place to be?

Choose to Play

“๐๐ฎ๐ญ ๐ˆ ๐ฃ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ฐ๐š๐ง๐ญ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐š๐ฒ!
“๐๐จ๐ญ ๐จ๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐›๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ก…๐š๐ ๐š๐ข๐ง!? – ๐๐จ ๐ง๐จ๐ญ ๐ฆ๐ž!”
Why me? Perhaps the better question is why not me?
All too frequently as a teenager – that’s where I found myself in the High School Basketball team. I just wanted to play in the game.
I wanted a jersey, I didn’t want to sit on the sidelines – I simply wanted to play!
In my youthfulness and eagerness to play, long hours of practice and effort eventually paid off, and I became a regular starter – playing constantly.
I learned too, that sometimes when you are not playing well, the coach can take you out of the game.
Similarly in life, I want to be where the action is.
Sitting on the sidelines is just not for me.
At home, at work, in the community I need to be involved, I need to play, to make a difference.
As Oliver Wendell Holmes said “It is required of a man that he share the action and the passion of his time at the peril of being judged not to have lived.”
Whatever it is that is most important in your life…
– choose to be engaged
– choose to participate
– choose to practice and expend the effort
– choose to get involved
– choose to make a difference
Decide now to get up off the bench, move from the sidelines and into the field of action – ๐’„๐’‰๐’๐’๐’”๐’† ๐’•๐’ ๐’‘๐’๐’‚๐’š!
What will you choose to do today?

Attitude

โ€œHow do I remain ๐ฉ๐จ๐ฌ๐ข๐ญ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž, when so many around me are negativeโ€?
Our attitude can make all the difference in our lives.
Said another way, so much in life, really depends upon our attitude.
M. Russell Ballard speaking many years ago commented that a โ€œgood attitude produces good results, a fair attitude fair results, and a poor attitude poor results. We each shape our own life, and the shape of it is determined largely by our attitude.โ€
During our time on earth, challenges will certainly come, they are after all, a natural part of life. We all worry at times. And of course there are times of concern and anxiety too.
But we can choose to be positive and cheerful.
The way we choose to see things, the way we behave or the way we respond to others can and will make all the difference.
Remember; โ€œA merry heart doeth good, like a medicine.โ€ – Proverbs 17:22
I love these observations by Charles Swinton about attitude โ€ฆ

Attitude

โ€œThe longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.
Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.
It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, 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 embrace for that day.
We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.
We cannot change the inevitable.
The only thing we can do is play the one string we have, and that is our attitude…
I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.
And so, it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudesโ€

Some top tips for those around us who may be a little negative.

  1. Counteract their negativity, with your positivity.
  2. Focus on their virtues, not their faults.
  3. Even if they have some negative comments, look for the positive in them.
  4. Be honest with them and share how their comments make you feel.
  5. ย Discuss with them whatโ€™s going well in their life.
  6. ย Set your own boundaries and ask yourself how much you are going to allow others to influence you.
We live in challenging times, however, lets choose to accentuate the positive and see the good in those around us, if we slow down and look, we will find plenty to be positive about.
How can you choose to be ๐ฉ๐จ๐ฌ๐ข๐ญ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž today?
#attitude

The Right Thing

“๐€๐ซ๐ž ๐ฐ๐ž ๐๐จ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ซ๐ข๐ ๐ก๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ง๐ ?” I asked…
Life has some strange turns – let me explain.
Recently I recalled an experience from some years ago, when I faced a difficult moment of truth, when my moral courage was challenged to do the right thing.
I was faced with a difficult decision of remaining quiet during a tough sales negotiation with a senior colleague, or correcting (what seemed to me) a deliberate glaring error that my colleague had made.
The error that was influencing the clients buying decision in a very positive way.
Correcting and embarrassing my colleague in front of the client was forefront of my mind – I didn’t want to do that.
So, I decided to wait for a break in our negotiations.
During the break, I pointed out the error to my senior colleague – who was not too pleased with me. I chose to hold my ground.
Some minutes later, it was determined to return to the negotiation table, share the mistake (at great cost to our deal), but secure the deal with our integrity intact.

We did “๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’“๐’Š๐’ˆ๐’‰๐’• ๐’•๐’‰๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ.”

I was reminded by a quote by Gordon B. Hinckley; “The problem with most of us is that we are afraid to stand up for what we believe, to be witnesses for what is true and right. We want to do the right thing, but we are troubled by fears. So we sit back, and the world drifts about us, and society increasingly adopts attitudes and standards of behaviour that most of us do not approve of.”
My message today is – consider your moral compass and choose to do ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ซ๐ข๐ ๐ก๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ง๐ !
Do what is right even though it seems that you will be alone in so doing.
Your conscience will always be clear and the truth will set you free.
Facing a tough choice today? Remember to do the right thing.
#integrity

Do you act or react?

Do you act or react?
I like this story told by Dallin H. Oaksโ€ฆ
โ€œI recall a memorable lesson I learned from Chicago Daily News columnist Sydney J. Harris. He wrote:
โ€œI walked with my friend, a Quaker, to the newsstand the other night, and he bought a paper, thanking the newsie politely. The newsie didnโ€™t even acknowledge it.
โ€œโ€˜A sullen fellow, isnโ€™t he?โ€™ I commented.
โ€œโ€˜Oh, heโ€™s that way every night,โ€™ shrugged my friend.
โ€œโ€˜Then why do you continue to be so polite to him?โ€™ I asked.
โ€œโ€˜Why not?โ€™ inquired my friend. โ€˜Why should I let him decide how Iโ€™m going to act?โ€™
โ€œAs I thought about this incident later, it occurred to me that the important word was โ€˜act.โ€™ My friend acts toward people; most of us react toward them. He has a sense of inner balance which is lacking in most of us; he knows who he is, what he stands for, how he should behave. He refuses to return incivility for incivility, because then he would no longer be in command of his conductโ€ (โ€œDo You Actโ€”Or React?โ€ condensed from the Chicago Daily News).โ€
Reflecting on this story, it challenges each of us to focus our attention on the individual responses that we must make, to the personal adversities sure to impact upon each of us throughout our lives โ€“ sometimes even daily!

Choosing

Each of us have the power to choose what to do, in essence to act, and not simply be acted upon.
In most encounters in life, it is my sense that we can determine the kind of experience we are going to have by how we respond.
How we choose to act and behave ultimately shapes our character. Charles A. Hall aptly described that due process in these lines:
– We sow our thoughts, and we reap our actions;
– We sow our actions, and we reap our habits;
– We sow our habits, and we reap our characters;
– We sow our characters, and we reap our destinyโ€
May we always remember that โ€œA soft answer turneth away wrath.โ€- Proverbs 15:1
How can you choose to act and not be acted upon?

Disappointment

After coming in contact with someone with Covid this week, weโ€™ve been in isolation for a few days.
Yesterday, despite our great determination, because of a number of growing cases of covid in the mission, we took a difficult decision to postpone (again) a mission conference, planned for the week ahead, with a visiting general authority of the church.
Our hopes were dashed once moreโ€ฆ
Disappointment, discouragement and being a little down were not far from our thoughts yesterday, as we knew the impact the decision would have on our missionaries. Dealing with disappointment is not easy and it brings a kind of sadness with it too.

What did we learn?

Yet, setbacks are part of our experience as human beings.
I have learned in life too, that as we deal with disappointments, we need to understand that these temporary blips in our lives are just that โ€” temporary!
The key, however, is to boldly face disappointments and to master and control the emotions that arise.
Maybe it is required of all of us to know that through disappointments in life we may experience that which was taught in Doctrine & Covenants 29:39 โ€œif they never should have bitter, they could not know the sweet.โ€
All that said, in one of my favourite scriptures we read in Doctrine and Covenants 61:36, โ€œAnd now, verily I say unto you, and what I say unto one I say unto all, be of good cheer, little children; for I am in your midst, and I have not forsaken you.โ€
So โ€“ in the midst of our disappointment yesterday, after dealing with and sharing our emotions with one another, we chose to change and cheer ourselves up. We put things into perspective!
It was our day off after all.
We put up the table tennis table and played for a little while. Then we had a game of Sequence, we ate some warming soup, had a chocolate or two, and finally we listened and danced to some cheerful Irish folk music โ€“ all of which lifted our spirits.
What do you do to overcome disappointments?

The Pursuit of Excellence

“And what are you going to do now?” asked President Goodman, my Mission President.
It was the summer of 1985, and I had just completed my full time mission for the church in London. In our departure interview he gave me a little booklet entitled “The Pursuit of Excellence.”
The introduction was as follows; โ€œThe Pursuit of Excellence is an achievement challenge designed to help a participant develop a Christlike life of love and service. Accomplishing this objective requires a diligent and serious effort in fundamental aspects of a truly Christian lifeโ€”spiritual, intellectual, social, physical, and in service and character.โ€
And so my own quest in the “pursuit of excellence” commenced.
It was a voluntary initiative, there was no award or completion certificate, it simply encouraged you to set stretching goals….. and I did. Frequently!
In fact, many years later, Monic set up a similar successful programme for the Relief Society in Dunfermline, based on the same little book.

What is excellence?

Excellence is a curiously powerful word. It implies the highest standards and great devotion to something.
In the New Testament, Paul encouraged the Philippians (4:8-9) to pursue excellence and to practice the things that had been taught to them.
He wrote; โ€œFinally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any ๐ž๐ฑ๐œ๐ž๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in meโ€”practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.โ€
Oftentimes too many of us settle for less than what we can actually become. Many choose to live far below the privileges and possibilities of their own lives.
It requires effort! But we need more excellence in our thoughts, in our motivations, in our faith, in our actions, in our drive and in our determination to live life at its best.
Excellence awakens ambition, emboldens enlightenment and inspires a journey of self-discovery.
Are your goals and ambitions in life aimed at below your very best?
Or are they simply mediocre?
Are you willing to practice excellence?
Choose to live up to the level of your possibilities – today!

From Dark to Light

Are you fumbling around in the darkness?
The storms of life, dark, difficult moments, trials, tribulations, sickness, loneliness, resentment, fears can overwhelm us and we may fall into despair.
Arising early this morning, it was dark, very dark.
Autumn is here.
The thick early morning darkness of the season is upon us.
Carefully in the darkness, I cautiously moved forward into the vast darkness of the bedroom. As I placed one foot in front of the other, I became acutely aware of my tiny steps, wary of any obstacles in the way.
Moving forward apprehensively, I slowly, gingerly stretched out my arms, feeling, touching, sensing in the denseness of that dark moment, in which direction to move onward, towards my objective.
My pace was deliberate and measured.
After a few seconds, my goal was achieved.
Clutching my dressing gown and slippers, I turned around and once more faced another dark period of retracing some of my steps and out of the bedroom, into the hallway, down a flight of stairs and finally arriving in the living room.

Turn the Light On

I then chose to turn the darkness off, by turning the light on.
Figuratively, many of us may be in a similar space, right now, right at this moment in time.
Searching, seeking, inquiring, exploring for a new direction and answers, yet feel surrounded by gloomy darkness, filling our thoughts and actions.
This is a time for faith, not for fear.
Throughout life, I have learned that when the night is dark, when thick gloominess surrounds us, each of us have an opportunity to move forward by exercising our faith in Jesus Christ.
He is the light.
He is the light of the world.
Little by little, step by step by putting our hand in the Lordโ€™s hand and relying upon Him, will help each of us through, even the darkest of nights.
Doing so will strengthen our faith and answers will come.
Choose to turn the darkness off.
Please choose to turn His light on.

Change one Thing

Change One Thing….
Have you ever asked yourself what’s the one thing that I can change about myself that will make the biggest difference in my life?
Change happens one (baby) step at a time.
In a number of recent conversations, I have found that we tend to focus on far too many changes at once.
Then it struck me this morning that we must remember, that new habits are formed one step at a time……One By One.
By changing one thing in your daily habits and routines, no matter how great or small, I have found that just one little thing can have many big consequences in your life.
Perhaps its that one annoying habit that consumes lots of your time every day, that is really just a waste of time and effort!
You know what I mean.
So – why not do something today that will make a big difference?
Choose to change.
It may help you to soar higher.
What one thing will you change today?

Profanity

Walking through the town centre on my way home yesterday, I certainly had a rude awakening to one part of society I haven’t missed at all, profanity.

It was just awful and I found it so very, very sad.

Over the course of less than 100 metres or so, my ears were filled with several expletives from young and old as they caught up face to face for the first time in a while.ย  I actually found it depressing, and felt assaulted by it. As a Christian, I cannot understand why any human being chooses to use the name of deity with such disrespect.

Is it ever okay to swear?

Worryingly – blasphemy, cursing, the use of obscenities and vulgar talk is everywhere, the use of foul and abusive language has reached epidemic proportions.

Recently I stumbled across a quote that summed it up for me perfectly – “Profanity is the effort of a feeble mind trying to express itself forcefully.” Spencer W. Kimball.

We expose ourselves with our speech.

You will recall that Shakespeare urged in King Lear, โ€œMend your speech a little, lest it may mar your fortunes.โ€ (act 1, sc.1,line 96.) Some may disagree and argue its only words.

My invitation – lets use self mastery and self control in our language to build, to edify, to uplift, to enlighten, to appreciate and to motivate.