Tonight I came across an audio file of a talk given back in 1964 by one of the greatest men I have ever known to walk this earth. When he passed away back in 2008 I was incredibly sad, but his influence in my life continues on to this very day. His name was Gordon B. Hinckley. He and my Grandpa Rees were very close life-long friends (in fact he spoke at my grandpas funeral as did Thomas S. Monson, who was also an incredible man). The talk in the audio file is one he gave on campus at Brigham Young University titled “How Lucky Can You Be?”. The message of the talk is so powerful and as relevant today as it was back then, if not more so. It was so powerful that I had to rewind it just so I could type his words to share with you:
“Our society is afflicted by a spirt of thoughtless arrogance unbecoming those who have been blessed so generously… Absence of gratitude is the mark of a narrow, uneducated mind. It bespeaks a lack of knowledge and the ignorance of self-sufficiency. It expresses itself in ugly egotism and frequently in malicious conduct…
Where there is appreciation, there is courtesy, there is concern for the rights and property of others. Without appreciation there is arrogance and evil. Where there is gratitude, there is humility, as opposed to pride. There is generosity as opposed to selfishness…How magnificently we are blessed! How thankful we ought to be…
‘How lucky can you be?’ I ask that earnestly – ‘How lucky can you be?’
Cultivate a spirit of thanksgiving in your lives. Make it of the very fiber of your beings. It will impart an added dimension to your characters that will give depth and strength. The Lord has said the meek shall inherit the earth. I cannot escape the interpretation that meekness implies a spirit of gratitude, as opposed to an attitude of self-sufficiency, an acknowledgement of a greater power beyond oneself who is the giver of every good gift, a recognition of God. This is the beginning of wisdom…
…Walk with thanksgiving before God and with appreciation before your associates. And add to your spirit of thanksgiving a great spirit of service that you might bring to others the marvelous blessings which you yourself enjoy. As you look forward to your lives, as you prepare for the future, think of serving those beyond yourself. Reach out in service to others.
…The greatest need of the world today is a generation of men and women and a generation of learning and influence who can and will stand up and go forth and in sincerity and without equivocation stand up declare that God lives, and that Jesus is the Christ, and that all men are brothers with an obligation to serve one another.
This is the message I would like to leave with you this day: How lucky can you be? How thankful you ought to be. How determined you ought to be, to use your lives in the service of others, and in so doing, serve your God of whose living reality I testify as I invoke his choice blessings upon you. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.” – Gordon B. Hinckley (excerpts from a talk given at Brigham Young University in 1964 titled “How Lucky Can You Be?”)
All I can add to this is my “Amen!”
~Amy Rees Anderson (author of the newly released book “What Awesome Looks Like: How To Excel in Business & Life” )