Choir Notes

From Music and the Spoken Word
Delivered By: Lloyd D. Newell • Program 4363

A wise man who has experienced much in life recalled how, as a boy, he and his friends used to carve toy boats out of wood and race them down the river. They quickly realized that their boats were completely at the mercy of the current; if it led a boat into a whirlpool or a patch of reeds, that’s where the boat stayed. "Toy boats,” he observed, "[have] no keel for stability, no rudder to provide direction, and no source of power. Inevitably, their destination [is] downstream—the path of least resistance.”1

Are we sometimes like toy boats? Do we passively let life take its course, allowing one day to flow into the next, without a sense of purpose? Dr. Patricia A. Boyle and her colleagues recently conducted a study indicating that having a mission in life can "help stave off cognitive decline and promote a broadly healthier, longer life.”2 When you set and pursue meaningful goals, you help your brain, your body—your life.

There are so many ways to add purpose to life. And it doesn’t need to be anything grandiose. "The first step,” Dr. Boyle explains, "is to think about what is important to you, what energizes and motivates you, what gives you the sense that life is meaningful.”3

Some volunteer to help those in need. Some become mentors, sharing their wisdom and experience. Others focus on self-improvement, learning a new language or a new skill. One young man spends months training guide dogs for the visually impaired. A busy young mother finds a few minutes each morning to think of ways she can influence her children for good. A grandma who can no longer write calls her friends and extended family members on special occasions. Each, in his or her own way, finds purpose. And although life can be demanding and tedious at times, when we decide to live with purpose, the quality of our life improves. We don’t just float; we sail purposefully to our destination.

1 Thomas S. Monson, "The Race of Life,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 92.

2 Diane Cole, "Why You Need to Find a Mission,” Wall Street Journal, Jan. 11, 2013, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323316804578163501792318298.html. 
3 In Cole, "Why You Need to Find a Mission.”

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