Factors necessary to develop us into real eminence in any field: Whatever may be the nature of our work, or the character of our own vocational activity, eminence always involves the following: [And then he named four factors, and I want you to mark them.] 1. You must have the determination to excel. 2. You must have the willingness [And I want you to mark this.] to pay the price, to study, to live through disappointments with optimism, and to accept the sacrifices necessary to succeed. [Now, do you get the significance of that?] 3. You must have the steadfast pursuit of purpose, doing the work day after day, week after week, yes, year after year, whether you feel like doing it or not. 4. You must have pride and faith in the virtue of your calling. [That is to say, spiritual motivation.] (James F. Oates, Address before the YMCA at Los Angeles, California, April 15, 1960.)
James F. Oates
Source: quoted by Harold B. Lee, LDS Church president, at BYU, February 7, 1962
A sense of relationship and copartnership with God involves the concept of universal brotherhood and that will help to develop intelligent tolerance, open-mindedness, and good-natured optimism. Life is really a battle between fear and faith, pessimism and optimism. Fear and pessimism paralyze men with skepticism and futility. One must have a sense of humor to be an optimist in times like these. And you young women will need a sense of humor if you marry these young men and try to live with them. Golden Kimball once said in a conference, "The Lord Himself must like a joke or he wouldn't have made some of you people." But your good humor must be real, not simulated. Let your smiles come from the heart and they will become contagious. You may see men on the street any day whose laugh is only a frozen grin with nothing in it but teeth. Men without humor tend to forget their source, lose sight of their goal, and with no lubrication in their mental crankshafts, they must drop out of the race. Lincoln said, "Good humor is the oxygen of the soul." And someone paraphrased, "The surly bird catches the germ."
I can say with conviction that the struggle which evil necessitates is one of the greatest blessings. It makes us strong, patient, helpful men and women. It lets us into the soul of things and teaches us that although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcomings of it. My optimism, then, does not rest on the absence of evil, but on a glad belief in the preponderance of good and a willing effort always to cooperate with the good, that it may prevail.