Saturday, March 3, 2018

President Howard W. Hunter on consistent ordinary efforts

President Howard W. Hunter (1907-1995) was called to the Quorum of Twelve in 1959.  He served as Church President from June 5, 1994 to his death on March 3, 1995.
"The Lord has said, 'Out of small things proceedeth that which is great.' (D&C 64:33; italics added.) Each of us has seen individuals become wealthy or successful almost instantaneously, almost overnight. But I believe that even though this kind of success may come to some without a prolonged struggle, there is no such thing as instant greatness. This is because the achievement of true greatness is a long-term process; it may involve occasional setbacks. The end result may not always be clearly visible, but it seems that it always requires regular, consistent, small, and sometimes ordinary and mundane steps over a long period of time."
- Howard W. Hunter, "True Greatness," General Conference April 1982
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

President Hunter points out that there is a difference between "overnight success" and true lasting greatness. While people occasionally stumble into success (financial, occupational, etc.) that really has very little to do with being truly great:

So according to President Hunter, true greatness comes after a prolonged process of effort that can include stumbles and failures, but always means lots of small steps in common and mundane ways. We need to learn to be content and persistent with our efforts from day to day, knowing that the cumulative effect of lots of little steps means a lot of progress over time; and that is where greatness comes from.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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