'Great things await you' BYU-Hawaii graduates are told
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Sister Elaine S. Dalton told BYU-Hawaii graduates that as they remember who they are they can go forward with faith and with confidence in every footstep.
Sister Dalton, Young Women general president, addressed approximately 450 BYU-Hawaii graduates from more than 40 countries during commencement exercises on April 14.
"You may look before you to a bright, clear future," she said. "You are living in these days by divine appointment. Your capacity to achieve is reflected today in this moment. And many more such moments lie ahead for you."
Using advice her mother and grandfather gave her, Sister Dalton shared with students five points to help them look to the future with faith.
Remember who you are
She said that whenever she, as a young girl, left home, her mother would tell her, "Remember who you are."
"Remembering who you are should help you remain optimistic," she said. "You must always remember that God knows you and He knows what you have the capacity to achieve. You have been uniquely positioned in time and place to prepare to shape the future — to lead, to lift and to build.
"You must never be like the world. You have been uniquely prepared to be unique. You are sons and daughters of God, and because of that knowledge, your response will not be the same as the world's response to any situation. You not only know who you are, but whose you are. That knowledge alone is now, and will continue to be, reflected in all your actions, reactions and associations."
"The second thing I want to share with you is some advice my grandfather gave me a long time ago," she said. "It is the secret of all great accomplishments. It is to learn to, and love to, work hard. It is to find satisfaction in going the distance and in completing a task and to love the labor of it all."
Train for adversity
Sharing the example of a six-time Hawaii Ironman triathlon winner, Sister Dalton said that it was his training for adversity that made it possible for him to keep going even when conditions were harsh.
"Train for adversity and remember the little victories," she said. "In the famous words of Winston Churchill, 'Never, never, never give up.'"
One of the most important lessons in life is learning to put losses in proper perspective, Sister Dalton said. It is through setting high expectations and goals in life that individuals are able to look at the little victories and defeats as stages on the road to success.
"Don't lose sight of your dreams and when you dream — dream big," Sister Dalton said. "And remember attitude is everything. So, keep a positive outlook. Look for the silver lining. Don't get discouraged. Don't focus all your energy on negative situations — or people for that matter. Keep going. Put one foot in front of the other."
Winners do not always finish first
"This may seem to contradict everything you have learned and prepared to do. In our society we are taught from childhood that winners always come out on top. They make the most money and win the medals and they receive the recognition. We are taught that life is a competition and that everyone who is competing with you is a threat to your success. We are also taught that there is only one winner. The rest take second place."
Sister Dalton shared a story of a group of youth who trained for and entered the Special Olympics. At the sound of the starter, one of the participants fell and began to cry. All of the other participants looked back and saw what was happening, turned around and helped the boy up. They linked arms and walked together to the finish line.
What matters in life is helping others win, Sister Dalton said, even if it means slowing down and changing course.
"My mother's advice to me has now become my advice to you and so I repeat once more her advice, my advice — 'Remember who you are,' " Sister Dalton said. "You are not ordinary. You are extraordinary and you have been reserved to be here on the earth when the challenges and also the opportunities are the greatest. ...
"Today, I see kings and queens in the audience of this commencement gathering. You will be blessed by the King of kings as you remember who you are and live what you know, as you continue to work hard and train for adversity, as you never give up, as you dream big and as you remember that winners do not always finish first.
"Now, run into your marathon of faith and life. Don't get discouraged by the hills, but see the opportunity in adversity. Go with a sure foot and a sure knowledge that you are never alone."