An Island inside a lake.

How to Overcome the World’s Distractions

The world will always try to distract us from our spiritual pursuits, but we can learn to overcome worldly temptations while building a life centered on what our Heavenly Father wants for us.

Have you ever wondered how you can have a life filled with deep, abiding joy? We can learn to choose eternal joy over passing pleasures by learning to overcome the draw toward temporary, worldly things and anchoring our lives to a higher path.

“Mercifully, our errors can soon be swallowed up by resilient repentance, showing the faith to try again.” By Neal A. Maxwell


Neal A. Maxwell explains how we can free ourselves from the world’s distractions in his October 2000 general conference address titled “The Tugs and Pulls of the World.” Here are the ways Elder Maxwell suggests we can build our lives on a foundation that our Heavenly Father wants for us: 

  • Avoid Distractions: Realize that worldly temptations and distractions will always be there. It’s up to us to learn how to grow despite them. Elder Maxwell advises us to rely on the Holy Ghost, rely on our family, and maintain personal righteousness to keep developing spiritually.  
  • Keep an Eternal Perspective: Understand that, as Elder Maxwell puts it, “moments are the molecules that make up eternity!” Sometimes the things we think are small issues can be major pivot points in our spiritual trajectory. 
  • Stay Away from Negative Influences: Run from the things that threaten our eternal spiritual priorities, and choose friends carefully—that might even include turning away from some people if they are a negative influence. 
  • Return to Repentance: Remember that repentance is a part of the process! Repentance builds resilience to obstacles, teaches us to rely on our Heavenly Father, and brings true joy. 
  • Realize You Belong: Understand that “true belonging occurs when we know who we are and to whom we really belong!” Our identities as children of God can give us a real and lasting feeling of belonging. 
  • Turn to Jesus Christ: Look to the perfect model, Jesus Christ. Growing closer to him can help you find your place in God’s kingdom, which helps keep worldly distractions in check. 

As we learn to overcome the “tugs and pulls of the world,” we can find belonging and comfort as we live the lives God wants us to live. 

Read Elder Neal A Maxwell’s entire talk “The Tugs and Pulls of the World” to get an in-depth look at overcoming the world’s distractions. 

Source: General Conference 

—Kate Davis, Latter-day Saint Insights 


Find more insights 

Learn about the “natural man” and how we can overcome it to grow spiritually in Mosiah 3:19

Discover more about the way Heavenly Father can help us overcome spiritual obstacles by watching “Spiritual Whirlwinds,” a video based on a talk by Elder Neil A. Anderson

Explore more on keeping a spiritual perspective by reading “Put On Your Gospel Glasses: Keeping a Spiritual Perspective” by Kayla Echols.



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