Sunday, February 16, 2020

Goal setting

I spoke in the Lynnfield ward today. This is my third time speaking in that ward. Previously I spoke on citizenship in the ward and the restoration. Today I spoke on goal setting. It's a little different now that this is my assigned ward and so I know the congregation a lot better. Goal setting is something that has been on my mind a lot recently for a number of reasons, so I appreciated the opportunity to collect and organize my thoughts. I thought things came together okay, although my delivery had some bumps. I made the cardinal sin of going over time, which I felt bad about (especially since I actually had plenty of time). 

Hopefully somebody found the talk helpful. I used Wall-e as a framing device.
Image result for Wall-e

Here's the notes, but the formatting is off due to copying and pasting. I suggest you look at the Google doc instead.

Goal Setting

  1. Introduction
    1. Post-apocalyptic dystopian tale about an anthropomorphic robot
    2. Earth-class Waste Allocation Load Lifter
    3. Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator
    4. Wall-e - no aspirations or sense of stewardship
      1. Robots
      2. Humans
    5. Thesis: we need to set goals, we must be smarter about how we use goals, and we should involve others in our goals.
  2. We need to set goals
    1. Elder M. Russell Ballard taught, “Let me tell you something about goal setting. I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our life and learn how to master the technique of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When one learns to master the principle of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life” (“Do Things That Make a Difference,” Ensign, June 1983, 69–70).
    2. “This is a gospel of repentance, and we need to be repenting and resolving. Indeed, the process of repenting, making commitments, and setting goals should be a continuous one. . . . I commend the practice to you.” HOWARD W. HUNTER, “The Dauntless Spirit of Resolution” (Brigham Young University devotional, Jan. 5, 1992), 2,
    3. "You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending." - C.S. Lewis
    4. “The message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is that we can and must expect to become better as long as we live.” PRESIDENT HENRY B. EYRING,“Our Perfect Example,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 70
    5. Children and Youth program
      1. “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” - Luke 2:52
      2. Proverbs 22:6 - “aTrain up a bchild in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
        1. Not sure what that really means
      3. Keep Moving Forward (in the Introductory Guide for Children and Youth) - "Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious … and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." - Disney
      4. Home centered church supported - what does that look like
        1. Daughter felt like we were asking her to change who she is
        2. Goals should not just be another vector for more guilt
        3. What do you really value? Not what your parents/boss/Bishop/society or even God wants you to?
  3. We must be smarter about how we use goals
    1. Radical Candor - performance reviews
      1. Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean-In and COO of Facebook, says everyone needs a long-term vision and an 18-month plan
      2. Values, Dreams, Tactics
      1. Specific
      2. Measurable
      3. Actionable
      4. Relatable
      5. Time-bound
      6. Evaluate
      7. Reward
    2. Tools - Gospel living app, journal, other tools
    3. Monson quote - "When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates." - sometimes attributed as Pearson's law
  4. We should involve others in our goals
    1. The Lord
      1. “Plead that the Spirit will show you what the Lord wants you to do. Plan to do it. Promise Him to obey. Act with determination until you have done what He asked. And then pray . . . to know what you might do next.” HENRY B. EYRING, “Act in All Diligence,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 63
      2. Matthew 19 -
        20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
        21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be aperfect, go and sell that thou hast, and bgive to the cpoor, and thou shalt have dtreasure in heaven: and come and efollow me.
        22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had agreat possessions.
    2. Ministering brothers and sisters 
      1. “It is time for a home-centered church, supported by what takes place inside our branch, ward, and stake buildings.” PRESIDENT RUSSELL M. NELSON, “Opening Remarks,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2018, 7
      2. Wide eyed
      3. Alma 37:6Now ye may suppose that this is afoolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by bsmall and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.”
    3. Trek
      1. Get in the game and wake up. No armchair quarterbacking. 
      2. Alma 32:27But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than adesire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.”
      3. “Anytime you do anything that helps anyone—on either side of the veil—take a step toward making covenants with God. . . ., you are helping to gather Israel.” PRESIDENT RUSSELL M. NELSON,“Hope of Israel,” worldwide youth devotional, June 3, 2018, 15
    4. The High Place
  5. Conclusion
    1. Wall-e’s original function of garbage collecting improved to a goal of trying to hold Eve’s hand, and he involved everybody throughout the movie in his quest.
    2. Whimsical analogy has real application to us:
      1. We need to set goals, we must be smarter about how we use goals, and we should involves others in our goals
    3. Testimony

The High Place

The young man stood beneath the shade of the juniper, staring upward at the sheer face of the cliff. It reared its head above him, stretching nearly a thousand feet upward, to end in a sharp point that the old ones had called the High Place.

The hill had once been considered sacred, he knew, and this was actually the first time he had ever been this close to it. But today was the day he had determined to become a man, today he would ascend the cliff.

He had watched that cliff all his life, fearing it from the day he first realized that one day he must climb it. It wasn't so much the climbing that would make a man of him. He understood that. It was something unknown, something that would occur on the High Place, which would bring about that result.

Of his people, there were but few who had climbed it, and those who had done so refused to say much about it. Yet he and the others respected them tremendously, and more than all else he wished for the same kind of respect that was shown to them. Then too, those who had climbed it experienced a change somehow, and he desperately wanted that change in his life.

He thought of his parents, with whom he argued a great deal lately. He knew they loved him, for such was the way of his people, and he guessed he loved them also, but for some reason they could not get along with each other any longer.

The young man understood the problem very well; his parents were simply over protective. They refused to trust his judgment, to allow him to make decisions of his own. They still thought of him as a child, little more than a baby, who would not be allowed to make his own way in the world.

It was like climbing this cliff. For years his parents had known he would one day do it, and both had worried themselves sick over it. His mother had pleaded that he not make the attempt, or if he must, to seek counsel from his father before trying. His father, never really against his climbing of the cliff, had adamantly insisted that when the young man decided to try, he involve his father in the climb. What a pathetic idea that was! He needed to do it on his own to gain the respect he desired. If his people found out that his father had helped, they'd laugh at him. There was no way he would allow that to happen.

So this morning he had crept from the house while his parents and little brothers had slept. He had totally fooled them and now he was ready to begin the ascent.

Smiling as he thought of what his friends would say when they learned of his accomplishment, he began climbing. At first it was not so bad, but then the sun appeared, and before long he was perspiring heavily. It also grew increasingly dangerous, and his pace grew slower by the hour. Before long his hands were torn and bloody, and so were his knees. From one handhold or toehold to another he inched his way upward, nearly falling several times and yet always managing, just barely, to cling to the face of the cliff.

At one point, for a hundred feet or so, he had easy going, for he found a chimney or crack in the face of the cliff through which he climbed. At another place he found a narrow ledge that wound its way upward for a short distance, and along that he simply walked. But those were the only easy places, and the remainder of the climb was a dangerous and grueling torture.

It was late afternoon when the young man, exhausted, bloody, and filled with terror at the thought of the descent still before him, finally dragged his battered body over the lip of the cliff to lie spent on the smoothly worn stone of the High Place. He had made it, he knew, but he also knew that he would spend the night there and would likely die the next day trying to get down. He was simply not capable of that descent.

At last he crawled to the edge and stared downward into the dizzy depths, and as he did, he no longer thought of the praise of his friends or of the honor, respect and glory his people would show him. He thought only of his parents and family, and of what his death would do to them.

Why oh why hadn't he asked his father for help, for advice? Bitterly he cursed himself, and then tears stained his cheeks as he wept openly, his grief a combination of fear, self-pity and genuine concern for his family. For a long time he lay there, but at length, his emotion spent, he rose to his knees to move back to the center of the High Place. But he couldn't move! He was so filled with terror that his legs refused to operate, and so at last he had to worm his way back to the center.

As he worked his way around, trying to get as comfortable as possible, he began to think about his accomplishment, and for the first time he realized how proud he was that he had stood on the High Place. Not many could say that, he knew, and at least, should he die tomorrow, he would be remembered as a hero, he who had climbed the High Place.

A flash of white under the edge of a nearby rock caught his attention, and the young man wormed his way to it. It was a torn piece of paper, and as he unfolded it he wondered what great message some previous visitor had left him. At last, hands shaking, he opened the paper, and as he read he felt the change that would take him from boyhood to true manhood. The note said simply:

Dear Son,

When we awoke this morning and found you gone, I came immediately to the High Place to await your arrival. But you had taken so long that your little sister, who came with me, needed to get home. We have started back. If you had only asked me this morning, I would have told you of the steps of the Old Ones carved on the south end of the cliff. That would have saved you all the grief and agony, and most of the day as well.

My son, the true test of manhood is not that you have climbed to the High Place. Anyone can do that. The true test is how you did it. When a man is humble enough to involve those around him in his climb, then he is a man. Now hurry down the trail. We'll be going slow, waiting for you.

Love, Your Father

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