"William George Jordan once said, 'Man has two creators, his God and himself. The first creator furnishes him the raw materials of his life—the laws and conformity with which he can make that life what he will. The second creator—himself—has powers he rarely realizes. It is what a man makes of himself that counts.'
"Self-respect allows a person to know who he or she is and what is expected of him or her.
"Set your goals—without goals you can't measure your progress. But don't become frustrated if the victories don't come quickly or easily. Remind yourself that striving can be more important than arriving. If you are striving for excellence—if you are trying your best day by day with the wisest use of your time and energy to reach realistic goals—you are a success, and you can feel proud of your accomplishments."
- Marvin J. Ashton, "Be a Quality Person," address given 30 August 1992 during a single member fireside satellite broadcast; see Ensign, Feb. 1993, pp. 64-67
Click here to read the full talk
What are we able to make of our lives? We don't all have the same "raw material" given to us to work with, and some therefore question the fairness or justice of God's plan, or even the reality of His existence. But those who truly believe have to trust that he gives to each of us the best opportunities for our personal growth, independent of any other person or situation.
And then we must remember that it doesn't happen all at once; there is much "striving" before the "arriving" occurs. Elder Ashton encourages us to recognize the power in that striving, and what it indicates as a apart of the whole process of our growth and development.