“Prepare, Perform, and Serve, President Monson Teaches,” Ensign, Apr. 2001, 74
“This is your time. What will you do with it? Are you where you want to be with your life?” asked President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, in a January Church Educational System satellite broadcast.
Speaking at Ricks College, President Monson told young people that in order to be successful in life, they must pass through three “gates”: the gate of preparation, the gate of performance, and the gate of service.
The Gate of Preparation
“The Lord has counseled, ‘If ye are prepared ye shall not fear’ (D&C 38:30). Fear is the enemy of growth and accomplishment,” said President Monson. “It is necessary to prepare, to plan, so that we don’t fritter away our lives. Without a goal, there can be no real success.”
President Monson emphasized the importance of education in preparing for one’s life. “Study something you like and which will make it possible for you to support a family,” he said. “While this counsel would apply almost certainly to young men, it also has relevance to young women. There are situations in life which we cannot predict which will require employable skills.”
The Gate of Performance
President Monson urged young members always to have courage to do what is right. “You must continue to refuse to compromise. … You must maintain the courage to defy the consensus. You must continue to choose the harder right, instead of the easier wrong,” he said.
In seeking to accomplish one’s goals, President Monson cautioned, some things are more important than ambition. “It is a good idea to be ambitious, to have goals, to want to be good at what you do, but it is a terrible mistake to let drive and ambition get in the way of treating people with kindness and decency,” he said. “The point is not that they then will be nice to you. It is that you will feel better about yourself.”
The Gate of Service
Quoting Dr. Albert Schweitzer (1875–1965), President Monson said, “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”
As we live our daily lives, we find countless opportunities to follow the example of Jesus Christ, said President Monson, and “when we are on the Lord’s errand, we are entitled to the Lord’s help.”
He spoke of a painting of the Savior that hangs on the wall opposite his desk. “When confronted with a vexing problem or difficult decision, I always gaze at that picture of the Master and silently ask myself the question: ‘What would He have me do?’ No longer does doubt linger, nor does indecision prevail. The way to go is clear.”
In conclusion, President Monson encouraged young people to likewise seek heavenly help in knowing how to serve others. “There is no feeling so gratifying nor knowledge so comforting as to know that our Father has answered the prayer of another through you.”