BYU-Pathway Worldwide Devotional
“The Mismeasure of Man”
Welcome to a new semester! It’s wonderful to be with you BYU-Pathway students as you gather from all over the world.
It may not have looked like it then, but as a young boy, I had great ambitions of future glory. I confessed to my mother that I could not decide whether to become an astronaut or a professional athlete. Unfortunately, some of those ambitions faded — not because they were unrealistic, but because I began believing early measures of my academic performance. In a grade school just like this, I started to lose confidence. I had a hard time focusing, and I struggled academically. I even applied to my school’s honors program unsuccessfully three separate times. What made it even more painful was that my younger siblings had already been accepted. I knew I could do more, but I just didn’t know how.There are intense debates as to whether human potential is fixed or whether it can expand over time.
In those early years when my academic performance was low, I began to develop study skills and academic grit because I lacked intellectual confidence. Eventually I developed better time-management and other organizational skills, which together led to a modest academic improvement. But the real transformation in my development came as a missionary. I brought the same discipline I had developed in school, but something was different. I soon realized that heaven was expanding my capacity. The Spirit helped me learn at an accelerated pace more than simply relying on my own efforts. I was developing a growth mindset that looked at expanded possibilities, but it was based on something more. It was based on my divine potential and not just my personal efforts.
This experience echoes a pattern that is repeated for BYU-Pathway students across the world. Ian Kila, a student in the southern United States, describes his path of learning: “I didn’t have the ability to finish high school.… Many nights I went to bed heartbroken, praying and hoping that the Lord hadn’t forgotten me. It was my dream to be smart like those around me.... I learned about [BYU-Pathway] and the opportunity it gave.... I enrolled [and] learned about self-reliance, critical thinking, … math and communication skills. Of all these blessings, one of the greatest was the ability to … be guided by the Spirit.”
Lehi Santana, from Mexico, describes how his learning changed him: “[BYU-Pathway] has made it possible for me to discover things about myself that I didn’t know were there.”
Florencia Molina, from Argentina, explains: “I realized that the most important progress I made was spiritual. I was able to understand my divine potential and become who my Heavenly Father expects me to be.”
Each of these students initially felt their potential was capped based on prior academic experience. As they developed life skills through BYU-Pathway, their abilities grew. But when they grounded their study in a deeper purpose, the Holy Ghost accelerated their learning, and their divine potential began to shine through.As BYU-Pathway students, you will acquire study skills, organization, and time management. You also learn how to overcome thinking errors, develop a growth mindset, and build a capacity to persevere. BYU-Pathway curriculum draws on proven research in academic development.
1. Recognize your divine potential
2. Anchor on a higher purpose
3. Draw on the Holy Ghost as the true teacherOn this first point, the world will try to deny your divine potential. Recall Satan’s efforts to hold back Moses, saying, “Moses, son of man, worship me."
You have incredible learning resources placed before you. The most obvious may appear to be in the life skills and study skills that are nested in the BYU-Pathway curriculum. But if you look deeper, you will see the ability to realize your divine potential, anchor your learning in a higher cause, and draw on the power of the Holy Ghost. God will amplify your efforts to take you to places you never thought possible. I know this is true from my own experience. I see it in the lives of countless BYU-Pathway students. I so testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.