Principles From My Favorite Self-Help Book
Today I turn 37. Today’s post is a list of my favorite, most influential principles from my favorite self-help book, The Book Of Mormon.
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Surprised that I would choose a book of scripture as my favorite self-help book? Then I apologize that I don’t talk about it more often.
In 2017 I wrote an entire book about the principles in The Book of Mormon. I was shocked to find that I had highlighted over 300 verses or sections during my research for the project and shared those in a daily email series that lasted more than 11 months.
The principles in The Book of Mormon, more than any other book, have improved my life, helped me to progress, and find joy and fulfillment.
I want to share those principles today on my 37th birthday, (I’ll try to get to 37 but I make no promises…) in hopes that they can help you as well.
In no particular order, here we go:
There Is A God
We have heavenly parents who love us, who know us, who we lived with as spirits before we came here.
There Is A Plan
This same God created a plan for us, his children, to be able to come here to earth, gain experience and make choices, and ultimately return to live with Him again.
There Is A Savior
Because the plan included agency – our ability to choose for ourselves between right and wrong, good and evil – there was also the reality that we would sin. Sin makes us imperfect, and so we needed a way to become perfect again to live with our family in heaven.
The plan required an ultimate sacrifice, one that could only be made by a perfect being. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, provided that sacrifice willingly, and by doing so he has made it possible for us to live with God again one day.
We Are Not Alone
God, in His infinite wisdom, didn’t leave us stranded here on earth to fend for ourselves. In this plan He provided a spiritual guide. A comforter, a source of truth and direction. A Holy Spirit that is one with Him in purpose – to help us live in heaven with our heavenly family forever.
Have Charity Towards Others
Charity is different than love. You can’t have charity for yourself – it’s an outward-facing attribute. This desire for the well-being of others is one of the most God-like attributes, and we should aspire to have charity for everyone.
There Is Opposition In All Things
This principle is essential when trying to make progress in life. There are choices to be made along the way, there are highs and lows, good days and bad days, love and hate, joy and sadness.
This opposition is important to remember – we wouldn’t know joy if there were no sadness. Our best days exist only because we are able to compare them to the hard ones.
This life isn’t meant to be a struggle, a fight, a battle, or a war. We are here to have joy – joy in our work, in our relationships, in every aspect of our lives.
Keep Your Word
There is an emphasis on the importance of covenants in The Book of Mormon. A covenant is a promise we make with God – to keep His commandments, do His will, and live life in a way that shows Him how much we want to return to live with Him again. Our word is important – not just with Him, but with everyone with interact with.
Humility is Required
So many other principles – faith, hope, charity, repentance, obedience, etc. – are only possible if one is humble. Being humble means you understand a bigger picture – that without God nothing is possible. That we need to rely on Him, our Savior, and the Holy Spirit to get the joy we are after. That humility extends to the way we live our lives, treat other people, do our work, and more.
The opposite of humility is pride. It’s the belief that you can do it all alone, and that others – including God – should see things your way, rather than the other way around. Avoiding pride, entitlement, and the like is one of the best things you can do to have a life full of joy – because you’ll never be let down.
Knowledge is mentioned many many times in The Book of Mormon. The desire for knowledge is important, to seek it, to nurture it, and to act on it. It’s a life-long pursuit that never ends, and can never be fully attained.
God Is Powerful
In moments that are hard, this principle helps me remember not only that I’m not alone, but that with God all things are possible. We can get so myopic sometimes, and just taking a moment to step back and see a bigger picture and remember the power that God has allows me to see and approach things a different way.
Faith, as I’ve come to define, is belief + action. Having faith means that I need to act in accordance with the things I believe in. My faith has not only allowed me to experience incredible joy through my efforts, but make incredible progress throughout my life.
Prayer Is Real
The ability to communicate with our Heavenly Father is an essential lifeline in my life. The responses aren’t always as quick as a text message or an email, but when I need Him, he’s there, and when I’m stuck, I can rely on Him to help guide me. Incredible blessings have come to my life through the power and act of prayer.
The Holy Spirit Knows ALL Things
No matter what I deal with in life, when things get hard, if I remember to be humble, to have faith, and to go to my Heavenly Father in prayer, there’s nothing that I can’t be taught or shown or directed to through the Holy Spirit. It’s – for lack of a better word – the ultimate “life hack”, to have the companionship of a member of the Godhead helping me in my life.
Remember Your Covenants
Similar to keeping your word, when you make covenants with God, they dictate the way you live your life. Covenants like baptism, receiving the priesthood, and marrying my wife are all things that inform how I live day to day. Remembering our covenants can help remove options in life that would only distract us from getting to where we want to go.
God Speaks To Us Through Prophets
Throughout the Book of Mormon we see examples of God speaking to prophets and leaders to guide groups of people. Following these inspired leaders gives me the direction I need at a high level to know what I can focus on to bring more joy into my and my family’s lives.
Scriptures Are A Source Of Truth
Truth is a knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come. The scriptures not only teach eternal truths, but help us apply those truths to our own lives and situations. As a bonus, the act of turning to the scriptures for knowledge and truth and guidance is a way to interact with the Holy Spirit to get inspiration and revelation that may not be on the page, but comes from the process.
Diligence Is Needed
Life is hard sometimes. And those hard times can last longer than we hoped or expected. By keeping a long-term focus and not giving up, we can get through those times and we can come out stronger on the other end.
Agency Is Given To Everyone
When we disagree with or are frustrated by the actions of others, it’s important to remember that all have this same gift from God, the ability to choose and act for ourselves. We’re not always going to choose good over bad, right over wrong, and neither are others. We have to remember that the freedom to choose is God-given, and not for us to take away from others. Remembering this makes it a little easier when others make choices I disagree with.
In the Big(gest) Picture – Life Is Fair
There are rules, there are laws, there are things in place that – in the big picture, the eternal picture – make life fair. I realize my privilege as I write this, but firmly believe that God’s plan and God’s laws are fair. They are based on truth and justice, and we can use that truth and justice to feel better about the work we’re putting in every day, even if things aren’t working out how we’d planned.
Repentance Builds Faith & Humility
If there were a “superpower” of a principle, it’s repentance. Going to God regularly to ask for forgiveness for bad choices, missed opportunities, and the like gives you more of two other essential attributes – faith and humility.
It requires humility to repent – you have to believe that you need repentance in order to repent – and the act of doing so builds faith.
Prosperity Comes To Those Who Do God’s Will
My experience has been that the more that I’m living these principles, the better my life is. I have more joy. I have more peace. More unexpected blessings come into my life from my Heavenly Father. I feel closer to Him and feel more guided and more clarity from the Holy Spirit.
We Show Our Love For God Through Service
When our lives are centered around benefitting others rather than just ourselves, it’s a way to show God that we “get it” – that we understand the plan, and we’re willing to be a part of it. Communities and families in The Book of Mormon thrived when things were common among them, when they looked out for each other, when they acted out of love and charity rather than pride and to “get gain”. God then rewards those people when they are serving each other and loving each other.
Work Is Necessary
In order to realize any of the principles and blessings that are outlined in The Book of Mormon, we have to put in the work. Not only for a short, set period of time, but for our whole lives. We need to be actively engaged, putting effort into things that are good, that serve others, that make the world a better place. The blessings flow to those who act in faith, not those who are slothful or lazy.
I lost count as to how many principles were covered there, but I want to end with my belief that these principles have served me well over the last 37 years.
Many were taught to me by loving parents who I am incredibly grateful for. Some were reinforced or reminded of because of friends or coworkers or people I follow online.
When you live your life according to principles that help you feel joy and love and certainty, you can’t help but experience those things.
Despite how crazy and uncertain this year has been, these principles have provided a foundation for me to build on. I’ve started two businesses this year. I have created more time with my wife and kids each day and each week. I have new friendships and have had new experiences that never would have come in any other year.
Overall I’m incredibly grateful to be alive, to be loved, to be able to do what I love, and to be right where I am. If you’re reading this, you’re part of that incredible feeling of gratitude, so thank you for your time and attention.
I’m excited for what’s to come this next year, and looking forward to all of the people I get to work with and serve along the way.