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Humor and Enthusiasm: The Keys to a Balanced Life

In a chaotic world, young adults often struggle to establish a good life balance. The solution may be simpler (and more enjoyable) than expected.

In the spring of 1981, Elder James E. Faust addressed the student body of Brigham Young University with some serious concerns about an imbalance in the students’ lives. His concern was rooted in the negativity and anger that had grown prevalent on campus, in the United States, and around the world. In his talk entitled “An Even Balance,” Elder Faust offers wise counsel for those seeking to combat the bombardment of negativity and live a more balanced life—counsel that’s just as relevant to us today as it was to BYU students in the 1980s. 

When your world grows dark, find the light within.

Photo by Micah Boswell

Elder Faust teaches that we can find balance amid negativity by developing a sense of humor. He describes humor as “a defense against adversity” and “a refining of the heart.” Elder Faust recalls the time when he was a young bishop and sang a solo in the ward choir, despite his discomfort singing in public. Even though the solo went poorly, he overcame his injured ego and chose to laugh when someone said, “Bishop, it surely makes us feel good to see you scared.” Elder Faust’s sense of humor enabled him to find joy in a difficult situation. Likewise, we can look within for joy by approaching hardships with humor and a good attitude.

Elder Faust adds that we can live a more balanced life through enthusiasm, or “embracing life rather than shrinking from it.” He suggests we live like Elder LeGrand Richards, who once said, “My body, the house I live in, is getting old and creaky, but the real LeGrand Richards is on fire.” Like Elder Richards, we can find balance by combatting external negative forces with an inner enthusiasm for life. 

We often wonder how we can find joy in an angry, negative world. Elder Faust’s answer is clear: we must balance negativity with humor, look within for joy, and become a light in the darkness.

To learn more about how you can live a more balanced life, read or watch Elder James E. Faust’s address “An Even Balance.”

Source: BYU Speeches

—Kennadie Halliday, Latter-day Saint Insights 


Find more insights

Read How to Keep Your Balance” by Oakli Van Meter to learn more about living a balanced life. 

For more on the value of humor, check out Peter B. Rawlins’s talk “A Serious Look at Humor.”

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