“Success is both an end state and a journey,” stated Area Seventy Elder Leonard Woo during a video chat with students of the BYU Management Society. Speaking on Feb. 22 about finding success, happiness, and peace in the world, Woo said, “Success is not defined by what we have but what we have become.”
A business leader in Singapore, Woo attributed much of his success to his relationship with Deity. Woo started by explaining how the problem with finding success isn’t one of to-do lists, but one of priority. Quoting scripture, he said, “The scriptures don’t simply say, ‘Seek ye the kingdom of God,’ but rather, ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God.’ As you do that, you will find that God will bless you.”
Woo told students to focus on prophetic counsel on pursuing their education. “Try to learn as much as you can. Not just academically but in terms of leadership, speaking, and interpersonal skills. As you do this, you will find that you will be able to reach very far.”
However, Woo warned, “Happiness sometimes can be evasive. Sometimes happiness may not come immediately. But if you are successful and live a right life, you will have peace.” Woo challenged students to change their mindset when these tribulations come. “Your taste of success only comes after some suffering and some trial.”
Woo recalled, “Yeah you can have challenges. Sometimes some presidencies don’t always work well together. But if you have the right attitude and just constantly be prayerful and ask what his will is and do his will, [there will be] an incredible feeling of peace and indescribable joy. It’s just wonderful.”
According to Jeremiah Hollis, a freshman from Idaho studying business management, this is a challenge people everywhere face. “It’s easy as people to become self-centered. When we have a trial, it disrupts our peace and we begin to focus on ourselves. If you don’t have a strong foundation, it’s really going to knock you over. Having peace is that foundation.
What has helped Hollis press through challenging times is what he calls trust–and a lot of it. “Trust that Heavenly Father is looking out for me and for others, that the trial that I am going through at the moment isn’t the end.”
For Hollis, these challenges are simply a setback along the path that God wants us to follow. “The trials we receive are not meant to discourage us or make us feel like we can’t succeed. They are really there to prove that we have the capability to succeed. I believe that it doesn’t matter how you get through it, you’re going to come out on top because that’s Heavenly Father’s plan.”
Karina Loeza, a junior from California, explained failure is necessary for success. “When we think of the word success, we often connect it with the word perfection. We have this misunderstanding that perfection means performance without failure. Failure is part of the pursuit of success.”
To Loeza, a business management major, success is best defined as “a personal pursuit of the ability to create what you envision in your mind.” For her, success is reached by living the values of her family, being consistent and effective in reaching her dreams, and fulfilling the will of God.
Loeza indicated the importance of not letting a small setback interfere with bigger plans. “Success is very much a personal thing. Like just because it wasn’t a successful day at work doesn’t mean I didn’t fulfill my purpose that day.”
To anyone struggling in their journey to success, Loeza offered this advice: “As we open up our mind and our heart God will teach us how to obtain success. As we look to God we will understand what the pursuit of success is.”