Thursday, September 9, 2010

Our Affect

Our natural focus is how our decisions affect ourselves and our course in life. Many times too we take in account the affect of our actions on others. The ability we have to affect others is still often underestimated.

A story from my life: There was a kid in my grade in middle school through hight school. He was a quiet kid and was always being picked on because he was overweight. Kids were really cruel to him. I rarely had a chance to interact with him in middle school. However in high school he was in a few of my classes. My first class with him was my math class sophomore year. During class he would sleep and never have his homework completed. He did not make any kind of an attempt to even pass the class. A year or two later he was in one of my creative imaging classes. I decided that I would be his friend. I tried to give additional help on his projects, I tried to give sincere complements when ever I could. I tried to show genuine interest in him, and I tried to think of things I could ask him about. However as I made attempts to get to know him and gain his trust. I saw that it was too late, he had already lost his faith in mankind. When I asked him about things he usually had a look on his face, waiting for me to set him up to be the punch line of joke. I hope that one day his faith in man will be renewed.

“Always remember that people are looking to you for leadership and you are influencing the lives of individuals either for good or for bad, which influence will be felt for generations to come.” - President N. Eldon Tanner
This quote teaches us the responsibility we have to the people who are within our sphere of influence, but also the often unconsidered generations in our sphere of influence. Its kind of a sobering thought.

The Right Course of Action

Sometimes things don’t go our way and we face a challenge. Depending on how we act we are either blessed by the trial or it becomes a cancer to us. The decision is entirely up to us.


There are times when the right things come to mind immediately and my challenge is to decide to do them right then and there. Not to hesitate to do good, so often we only have a small window to serve or follow the best course of action. Often though the challenge we face is not doing what first comes to our mind. Our challenge is putting off the natural man and doing what is right.

A month ago a close friend of mine was about to do something that I told myself that if they did, I would react in x way. X way was a negative, immature, and un-christlike way. As I plotted my reaction to what I was sure my friend was going to do, a question entered my mind.


As I thought about this question, my incubating anger melted away. I felt foolish for that first impulse. Later my friend did as I had anticipated and I met my friend with charity.

I was thinking of this in the wake of one of my friends facing a similar situation. I wish her the best of luck, and I hope that she can make the right choice.


I have discussed self-doubt with a few of my friends. I only really thought about it because last month I was helping in a Primary class. During the class the kids (age 5) were taking turns drawing on the board things they are grateful for. One of the younger boys got up and started to draw, with the chalk still pressed to the board, he said, “I can’t do this, I am horrible at this!” This stopped his progress, is it any wonder the Lord commanded us to “...doubt not, fear not.”

This experience made me consider when, how, and why we let doubt enter into our beings? We were not born with doubt. As a matter of fact one my graphic design teachers one day asked us to draw our peer across from us without looking at the paper we were drawing on. As we did so our results were less then desirable, and we laughed at our drawings, instantly critiquing their many faults and many students did not want to show their drawings to anyone. Our teacher then told us that younger children don’t feel ashamed to show their drawings in similar situations. They are proud of what they did and are excited to share it with anyone and everyone. He shared the study with us as a means to tell us that we should not be afraid to try anything fearing that it might turn out bad. We should consider all creative solutions and dismiss none.

What I take from it in context of self-doubt is that self-doubt is acquired. Which makes me consider the source of it, and why we let it take a place in ourselves. One source seems to be fear of what people will think of the results of our efforts. What if we fail? How will we compare or be compared? It is easier to doubt yourself than believe.

Last semester I was taking a vocal instruction class. The teacher planned a concert for the students of her various classes to perform if they so desired. I decided that I would not because I assumed that all those preforming would be significantly better then me and I would be just a poor spot on an otherwise great program. I attended said concert, and was impressed by the talents or bravery of each of the students. I had wished that I would have decided to go out a limb. I know that each one of the students that did, learned from the experience, and stretched towards their various levels of potential.

I wonder what kind of unrealized potential the everyday person never achieves because of self-doubt. I wonder how many more Einsteins, Monets, or Mozarts there would be if we would not doubt ourselves?