It is with sadness that I write that Gordon B Hinckley passed away on 27th January 2008. I feel privileged that during my Nuffield Scholarship study when I was in Salt Lake City I attended a church service where President Hinckley was also present.
He is reputed to have once said the following words : "Criticism and pessimism destroy families, undermine institutions of all kinds, defeat nearly everyone, and spread a shroud of gloom over entire nations". Those words are so true.
In our personal, and working lives how often do we have to overcome negativity from others? It is so easy when you are overworked, tired or feeling stressed to lash out and say something that you may immediately regret, but are then too proud to apologise. All too often it is to those close to you. Over time the divide it creates within families, even between nations, seems insurmountable.
Others are too self-critical expecting perfection in their work or actions and then becoming angry with themselves when they don't reach those over-high expectations. This causes such stress and anxiety.
How do we promote positive thinking within us and around us? Well Mahatma Gandhi described it this way:
"Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviors. Keep your behaviors positive because your behaviors become your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny".
I find these words such a great aspiration, but so hard to achieve in practice. President Hinckley and Mahatma Gandhi demonstrate that wisdom is such a rare, illusive gift. When we are given wise counsel we need to make sure that we take heed.