President Kevin J and Sister Peggy Worthen had the university devotional pulpit for the first time since President Worthen became BYU president last May. Their addresses focused on setting better goals and learning how to fail when we fall short of those goals.
"In our quest for perfection, how we respond when we fail will determine how well we will succeed," President Worthen said. "My plea for you today is to learn how to fail successfully."
Speaking first, Sister Worthen cited BYU students' high level of success as an indicator of goal setting. While setting effective goals in line with Gospel standards is important, Sister Worthen said it is also important to being flexible when facing challenges because they can lead to "new, improved routes" in life.
"One thing I have learned is that there is no such thing as an uninterrupted pathway to the goals we make," Sister Worthen said. "We usually face detours or unexpected events that occur while trying to achieve our goals."
President Worthen followed his wife's remarks by teaching how to respond when facing the unexpected setbacks that can make us feel like failures. He named three types of failures that, if recognized and dealt with correctly, can "move us along in our quest for perfection."
"There is a difference between failing, even repeatedly, and being a failure," President Worthen said. "Failing is a critical component of our eternal progress."
President Worthen cited the mantra of positive psychology: that optimism is the most common characteristic of those who are able to overcome failures. In addition to positive thinking, a recognition of the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ can help all turn failures into successes.
"I urge you, in your moments of doubt and despair, to focus more on Him and less on yourselves," President Worthen said. "He will turn all our failures into successes."
Next Week's Devotional
Next week's Devotional address, on Tuesday, Jan. 13, at 11:05 a.m., in the Marriott Center, will be given by Don R. Clarke, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Writer: Nate Depperman