Friday, December 30, 2016

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin on setting explicit life goals

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin (1917-2008) served as a Seventy from 1976 to 1986, then as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles from 1986 until his passing in 2008 at age 91.
"In some respects, progressing through life is like running a marathon. You young people are nearer the beginning of your earthly sojourn. You chose to come to this earth and to be tested and proved. The end may seem too far away to concern you now. But life, like a marathon, requires a good start and a strong, consistent effort all of the way to the finish.
"Marathon runners set explicit goals. You should look ahead now and decide what you want to do with your lives. Fix clearly in your mind what you want to be one year from now, five years, ten years, and beyond. Receive your patriarchal blessing and strive to live worthy of its promises. A patriarchal blessing is one of the most important guides in life that members of the Church enjoy. Write your goals and review them regularly. Keep them before you constantly, record your progress, and revise them as circumstances dictate. Your ultimate goal should be eternal life—the kind of life God lives, the greatest of all the gifts of God."
- Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Running Your Marathon," Ensign, Nov. 1989, p. 73
Click here to read the full article

Elder Wirthlin was quite athletic in his youth, and these analogies are natural for him. He proposes the mortal experience is like a marathon race that "requires a good start and a strong, consistent effort all of the way to the finish." Elder Wirthlin lived his life that way; he truly did endure and finish strong. In order to achieve the best success in our course of life, Elder Wirthlin encourages us to start by having a clear vision of what we want to accomplish:

Even though Elder Wirthlin was addressing his remarks to youth, who have more of life ahead, the principles apply to readers of any age. The idea of 1-year, 5-year, 10-year, and longer-term goals is a good one. Not many of us actually take the time to ponder what we want to accomplish in those kinds of intervals. But Elder Wirthlin believed there was power in recording and reviewing specific goals. That will aid us in the quest for the "ultimate goal."

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