“Hang on the walls of your mind the memory of your successes”

A number of years ago I stumbled upon this classic speech by Sterling W. Sill, “Bottles and Books” (May 1, 1977) given at BYU.  I’ve quoted some of it in this entry, Emotions vs. Intellect.

I have listened to it half a dozen times.  It was so inspiring it caused me to find one of his books, which contained the quote below, and adds to the power of what he has suggested will make us successful:

This philosophy of excellence was demonstrated by the artist Whistler, who once painted a tiny picture of a spray of roses. The artistry involved was magnificent. Never before, it seemed, had the art of man been able to execute quite so deftly a reproduction of the art of nature. The picture was the envy of the artists who saw it, the despair of the collectors who yearned to buy it for their collections, but Whistler refused steadfastly to sell it.

“For,” said he, “whenever I feel that my hand has lost its cunning, whenever I doubt my ability, I look at the little picture of the spray of roses and say to myself, ‘Whistler, you painted that. Your hand drew it. Your imagination conceived the colors. Your skill put the roses on the canvas.’ Then,” he said, “I know that what I have done I can do again.”

Then he gave us a great philosophy of success. He said, “Hang on the walls of your mind the memory of your successes. Take counsel of your strength, not your weakness. Think of the good jobs you have done. Think of the times when you rose above your average level of performance and carried out an idea or a dream or a desire for which you had deeply longed. Hang these pictures on the walls of your mind and look at them as you travel the roadway of life.” (General Conference, April 1971 “Great Experiences,” Sterling W. Sill.  It is also located in his book, “The Majesty of Books” 1974)

Yesterday, being downcast a bit, a good friend reached out and cheered me, helping me “look” for a moment upon a couple of pictures of success which hang on my walls.  In moments of discouragement, such reflection can be very powerful medicine.

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