Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sailing Attitudes

** This is based on something that I read sometime, I can't remember the original source, sorry.....

To me, there is a lot of symbolism in the Book of Mormon. One part that I have thought about is when Lehi and his family are travelling on the boat to America. As they begin, the sailing is smooth and they make good progress. The Liahona is working and their spirits are high. Later, as the journey continues, negative attitudes set in while Laman and Lemuel try to make everyone on board the ship likewise negative and unhappy. Nephi is tied to the mast and no pleading on the part of their parents seems to make any difference. A great storm that matches the emotions on board the ship arises. Rain pours down, thunder crashes and the waves rock the boat violently. Determined to hold tight to their negative emotions and feelings, Laman and Lemuel refuse to untie Nephi. For four days they go on like this. Those on board no longer govern the direction of the ship, but rather it is by the cruel waves and wind that they are driven. They did not need to concern themselves with making any progress on their journey at this point because it was all they could do keep from drowning! No reasoning or logic would change the minds of those so determined to cause unhappiness. Finally, the storm becomes so violent that fear causes their hearts to be softened, Nephi is released, and the winds again became calm and the boat is able to progress toward the promised land.

I see this drama of the boat played out often in individual lives; the people on the boat being our families, wards, etc. or even just our own individual lives and the struggles we have within. When we have good moods, positive attitudes, and clear directions as to how to attain our goals, progress is easily made and the sailing is smooth. But when the prevailing attitude is negative, the storm that is created and shuts down much of our ability to progress, or even control our direction, as we just try to keep from drowning. It is amazing to me how many times we like to cling to those negatives thoughts and attitudes just as Laman and Lemuel did for several days.

Recently, I was reading an article about all the effects that our mood alone can have on just our ability to learn and the ability of those around us to learn. When we are in a good mood, we think clearly, have insights, and are optimistic. In this mode, learning is a joy and something we do to further our understanding of the world and improve our lives. But if our mood is negative, we no longer see or think clearly. Learning becomes an obstacle which is difficult to get through. Rather than insights and understanding, we have difficulty seeing logically which causes further frustration. While positive moods can be contagious, it seems that it is only negative moods that are able to spread in epidemic proportions.

Aristotle said: “We are what we consistently do; excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” It’s the same with our attitudes. The more we choose to be positive in our thinking, the more this will be a constant state of mind for us, and happiness will be much easier to achieve.


  1. This is so very true. The past several years have been some of the most difficult in my entire life...and in the past several months I've noticed HUGE changes for the better after making a concentrated effort to adjust my attitude...

    Sometimes it's easy to lose sight of the good, positive things. What a difference it makes, though, when we make an effort to keep them in focus on a daily basis!

  2. I completely agree about the moods. Sad for those who cannot control their moods....


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