For success, attitude is equally important as ability.
When I stand before God at the end of my life I would hope that I would have not a single bit of talent left and could say, “I used everything You gave me.”
We sometimes think of being good at mathematics as an innate ability. You either have "it" or you don't. But to Schoenfeld, it's not so much ability as attitude. You master mathematics if you are willing to try. That's what Schoenfeld attempts to teach his students. Success is a function of persistence and doggedness and the willingness to work hard for twenty-two minutes to make sense of something that most people would give up on after thirty seconds. Put a bunch of Renees in a classroom, and give them the space and time to explore mathematics for themselves, and you could go a long way. Or imagine a country where Renee's diffedness is not the exception, but a cultural trait, embedded as deeply as the culture of honor in the Cumberland Plateau. Now that would be a country good at math.
I know that God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't test me so much.
If we strive for perfection—the best and greatest—and are never satisfied with mediocrity, we can excel. In the field of both composition and performance, why cannot someone write a greater oratorio than Handel’sMessiah? The best has not yet been composed nor produced. They can use the coming of Christ to the Nephites as the material for a greater masterpiece. Our artists tomorrow may write and sing of Christ’s spectacular return to the American earth in power and great glory, and his establishment of the kingdom of God on the earth in our own dispensation. No Handel nor other composer of the past or present or future could ever do justice to this great event. How could one ever portray in words and music the glories of the coming of the Father and the Son and the restoration of the doctrines and the priesthood and the keys unless he were an inspired Latter-day Saint, schooled in the history and doctrines and revelations and with rich musical ability and background and training?
Members of the Church should be peers or superiors to any others in natural ability, extended training, plus the Holy Spirit which should bring them light and truth. With hundreds of “men of God” and their associates so blessed, we have the base for an increasingly efficient and worthy corps of talent.
Keeping some commandments has greater power to build your foundation on truth and light. You could think of those as enabling commandments, because they build your power to keep other commandments. Whatever invites the Holy Ghost to be your companion will bring you greater wisdom and greater ability to obey God. For instance, you are promised that if you always remember the Savior, you will have His Spirit to be with you. You are commanded to pray that you may have the Holy Ghost. You are commanded to pray that you might not be overcome by temptation and so be clean and worthy of the Holy Spirit. You are commanded to study the word of God that you may have His Spirit. I would not set one commandment above another, but I might put some earlier in my efforts if they carry with them the promise of the companionship of the Holy Ghost. The Comforter will lead us to truth and light and will help us obey our Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son. We will come to love Them and those around us as we serve Them, and thus we will keep the great commandments.