When we think of King Benjamin, we often think of his famous speech—a great summary of the gospel, the mission of Jesus Christ, and our obligations as His disciples. But what we may not remember is King Benjamin’s accomplishment when he was younger. He had inherited a kingdom plagued by conflict and divisiveness. Bringing the people together under the banner of Christ took a lot of work and perseverance. Mormon tells us:
But why is perseverance so elusive to some and yet seems to be a habit for others?
There are a lot of reasons some people may have extra difficulty persevering: lack of resources, lack of family or group support, or some other condition that makes learning harder. In a study for educators entitled “Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance—Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century,” the U.S. Department of Education identifies these critical factors for developing perseverance:
Sometimes we might feel like salmon swimming upstream. It can be discouraging. And to stop trying is to be swept away by the current. But as President Thomas S. Monson said:
Recovering from failure requires us to be honest with ourselves. We have to ask ourselves “What did I do wrong?” no matter how unfairly we think we were treated or how far out of our control the circumstances were. We recover from mistakes when we develop the discipline to hold ourselves accountable.
We also develop perseverance when we learn to look at the big picture. The reason those salmon keep pushing against the current is that they know a safe place to spawn is ahead. Our desire to progress on this earth should be equally strong because we know that at the end of the currents and setbacks is the embrace of our Heavenly Father. He has given us the Holy Ghost to comfort and guide us. As we pray to develop these skills and as we follow a plan of action, God will bless us in our efforts to become more like Him.