One of my favorite springtime sights is that of newly hatched ducklings. I love watching the tiny, fuzzy things waddle around, exploring the world under the guidance of their watchful mother; it’s adorable.
However, a few springs ago, I had an experience with ducklings that I will never forget. In a field near my home, a few of my siblings and I had observed (from a distance) a mother duck who was followed closely by five small ducklings. We watched them for a few minutes before leaving to resume our activities. When we returned a few hours later, they were no longer there, but in a water drain on the edge of the field, we could see five ducklings floating lifelessly. The mother duck had walked straight over the drain not realizing that the spaces were too big for her ducklings to cross.
Unfortunately, the lives of these poor ducklings are similar to many of our own. Although we have loving parents and leaders, it is easy to slip and be trapped by the ways of the world. We follow the world by giving in to social pressures and trying to change ourselves to reflect public opinion. However, this will only lead to a fate similar to those of the ducklings, where we will lose our ability to be free and to be our selves; we will ultimately lose our happiness.
Elder L. Tom Perry, a beloved yet recently deceased apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, taught us, “You are not competing with anyone else. You are only competing with yourself to do the best with whatever you have received.”
If we let our success be defined by other people — by fame, wealth, or some kind of attention — we will fail. By allowing the opinions of others to affect us, we give up our ability to choose for ourselves, and to be ourselves. I testify that God has created us for a reason, and I know that he loves us. If we put our faith in Him and His teachings, He will lead us away from the unseen traps, even if that means traveling through more difficult terrain.
Follow the path you know to be true, not what the world thinks is the right path to follow. In this, you will find happiness, and happiness is the ultimate success.