Another Definition of Success

In “The Strangest Secret”, Earl Nightingale gives his definition of success:

Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.

You don’t need piles of money.

Lots of achievements.

A degree. Or a house. Or a car.

You just need to set a worthy goal, and steadily work toward making it a reality.

Do that, and you’re a success.

Symptom of a Larger Problem?

One thing I’ve noticed recently is that I’m not tempted to watch porn when I’m feeling good. When I’m feeling down, angry, sad, lonely, etc, that’s when I feel the urge.

I didn’t become an addict because I was a bad person. Something was wrong. I felt bad. I wanted to feel better. I found something to relieves the pain, if only temporarily. In the long run it made things worse.

Maybe this sounds familiar. If so, find another way to feel better.

Show yourself some love. Real love. Be compassionate to yourself.

Think about all the good things in your life. Make an effort to feel grateful. Really feel it.

Make a goal. Start working toward it. Get help from someone else who’s done it before.

Spend time around good people. Get away from people who drag you down, or at least spend less time with them.

And obviously, pray for help to improve your life. Your Heavenly Father wants you to succeed.

You should, too.

Self-improvement is an act of love

Hugging the World

As you work on yourself, some people will criticize you. They’ll say things like, “self improvement is selfish.”

These people are crabs. Don’t listen to them.

You were given talents for a reason.

Self improvement will make your life better.

Once you’ve improved yourself, you’ll be in a better position to improve the world around you.

There’s a YouTuber called Mr. Beast. My boys love him. A lot of his videos are dumb, but they’re popular and make him a lot of money. Does a lot of that money go to dumb things? Sure. But he’s also very generous.

In one video he bought a bunch of cars and opened a car dealership. He sold the cars to people in need for ridiculously low prices. In one case he gave someone money and a car. He also started #TeamTrees with YouTuber Mark Rober and raised money to plant 20,000,000 trees.

I still think a lot of his videos are dumb. So what? He’s a great example of what good people can do when they have money.

Money’s not the only way to help people, though.

Improve your spirituality, and lift the people around you that way.

Become a personal trainer or a dietician and help people be healthier.

Become a therapist and help people with emotional issues.

Join a club like Toastmasters and work on your public speaking skills.

Start a blog.

Start a YouTube channel.

Make cool things and sell them online. Or share them for free, if you want.

There are so many ways to improve yourself. The first step is to look for something that interests you and work at getting better at it.

The world will be better off.

And so will you.

The Pursuit of Money

Chasing a winged dollar

In high school I had to take a “Careers” class. I only remember two things from that class:

  • We watched a video on sexual harassment one day. The video warned about giving “meaningful looks.” What the heck are “meaningful looks?” I was a teenage boy. And now I was terrified of being sued for looking at the girls around me.
  • Another day we took an aptitude test. My results said I should be an artist. No way. I couldn’t make money as an artist. I enjoyed writing and drawing, but I didn’t think I could support a family doing those things.

I went to college to be an engineer. That didn’t last long. Before long I was just taking the classes that sounded fun. I only went when I felt like it. My grades suffered.

I got a letter from the college. They told me to take a term off to think about my life. Then I could ask to come back.

I wasn’t going to beg to come back. Forget that!

I got a call center job. I hated it, but the money was okay. I spent the next few years bouncing from one call center job to another.

Five years later I went back to school to learn Japanese. I decided to take some other fun classes while I was at it. After a year I started getting more serious. It didn’t take long to burn out after that.

Years later I was out of work. By then I’d gotten married. I had a son. I applied at the call centers I’d worked at before. They never got back to me. I didn’t have any other experience.

My wife said I should go back to school. I’d been wanting to for a while. I majored in Computer Science. I was excited at first, but my heart wasn’t in it for long.

My grades went downhill. My adviser told me I’d have to change majors.

I left school instead. I applied to an online university. They wanted me to get a computer certification before enrolling.

I started studying for the certification tests. I couldn’t focus. I was so bored.

I went to college for six-and-a-half years. I have zero degrees. There were some fun and interesting parts, but mostly it was a waste of my time. And not just because I didn’t get that parchment.

I worked in call centers for a few more years. My last job laid me off. A few months later I was separated and living in my mom’s basement.

I’ve spent twenty years pursuing things I thought would make me money, and making myself miserable. I’d say it was a waste, but at least I’ve learned something from it:

DON’T WORK JUST FOR MONEY.

The Ultimate Man

Heavenly Father with outstretched arms

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?

Matthew 7:11

Imagine the best father ever.

Then multiply that by a billion. By Infinity.

That’s Heavenly Father.

The perfect father. The perfect man.

He knows us perfectly. Better than we know ourselves. Better than we think we know ourselves.

He loves all of us, unconditionally. No matter what we do.

He loves us all equally. Whether we’re kings or paupers.

He gives us all we need to succeed. We just have to ask.

He gave us a Savior. He was willing to watch His only begotten son suffer. Imagine only having one son who carries your genes. Then imagine watching Him suffer for the sins of everyone who ever lived. Everyone, including the people who mock Him and you. Including the people who deny either of you existed. The people who say they don’t need you. Not only does He suffer for everyone’s sins, but he feels all their sickness. Their afflictions. Sadness. Depression. Anxieties. Every negative thing ever to happen to anyone, anywhere. And all you can do is watch. Whenever one of my boys gets hurt, my first impulse is to run to them. I can’t imagine what it was like. I’m sure it was all He could do in that moment to hold Himself back.

He is infinitely patient. I’m especially grateful for that. I don’t think there’d be hope for me if He wasn’t.

He gives us agency. He lets us choose. Will we make use of the Atonement? Give up? Keep trying?

If we do keep trying, he makes sure all things work for our good.

If we keep trying he gives us strength to make it easier.

He listens to our prayers, and answers them. We just need to listen. He guides us and helps us to know what to do.

He knows all. The past. The future. The hidden. Our very thoughts.

He is understanding. Heavenly Father was once a mortal, too.

He is trustworthy. If He says something, it is so. He can’t lie or break His covenants.

He wants us to be like Him. To have everything He has. That is His purpose in life.

It’s His work. His glory.

He wants it even more than we do.

Point of Origin

Pin in a mapMy starting point:

I’m 41 years old.

I’ve been separated from my wife for a year and a half.

She lives in her parent’s basement. Our two boys live with her.

I live in my mom’s basement.

I weigh 400 pounds.

I’m unemployed.

I’m a porn addict.

That’s the bad news.

The good news:

I get to see my boys almost every day.

I go to church.

I pray morning and night (most days).

I read my scriptures every day.

I read lots of other books.

I have a car.

I have my freedom.

I have a Savior.

I have more blessings than I can count.

I know I can improve myself.

It’s just going to take a lot of work.