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Intellect

Success is ability to change circumstances says Baroness Nicholson at BYU Forum

Baroness Emma Nicholson of Winterbourne spoke to the BYU campus community Tuesday at a Forum address. Sharing highlights from her own life journey, she emphasized that success in life should be measured by how we manage within the circumstances we find ourselves in and how we can change them. 

First, she praised the BYU students: 

Now I thank you, my new friends making up our audience today. Thank you for giving your precious time and serious attention to our meeting here. BYU places a big burden on you, its students, one of intensive work coupled with sport, art and music, continued commitment to the practice of a life of high virtue and shared ethics. And in addition we are all tasked as fellow humans to help those in greatest need.

That's not an easy program to fulfill. The pressure to succeed in all those fields - particularly in helping the neediest - must sometimes feel a real burden on you, and you may even wonder if you can manage it.

Nicholson said that she understands that feeling of the pressure to succeed. She said she often feels that when she sees the poverty of millions of people. 

"My own starting point is simply this: in any situation or field of human action success is rated by how you manage within the circumstances you find yourself," she said. "And, if those circumstances are unprepossessing, success is ranked by your ability to change them."

Born into a family of politicians, Nicholson was interested in public service from an early age. During her years of service in the British Parliament, Nicholson visited Iraq where she saw firsthand the atrocities being committed on Iraqis by Saddam Hussein. After seeing the suffering of Iraqi refugees, Nicholson started the AMAR Foundation, now one of the largest charities in the Middle East, to help the thousands of people ?desperate to rebuild their lives dominated by genocide and discrimination.?

"I believe profoundly that our whole lives must be committed to embracing the values that 'the common good' enshrines," Nicholson said.

Nicholson was introduced by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elder Holland was invited by Nicholson to address the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Foreign Affairs in the House of Lords at the UK Parliament earlier this year on how humanitarian aid can help

Following the Forum, Nicholson participated in a question and answer session. Among other questions submitted by students, she was asked how she maintains balance in her life. 

"I've never believed in balance," Nicholson said. "You do what the good God needs to you to do. You collect friends and do it together. We are here for a reason. You've got to do things and look out for others. Doing the best every day, that's a balanced life."

If you missed Nicholson's remarks, the Devotional can be streamed on demand on BYUtv.org

Next Week's Devotional

The next BYU Devotional address will be held on Tuesday, September 29, at 11:05 a.m., in the Marriott Center.

Ed Eyestone, BYU Director of Track and Field and Men's Cross Country Coach, will deliver the devotional address.

His remarks will be broadcast live on BYUtv, BYUtv.org, KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM, BYU Radio.

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