May 25, 2010
Writer: Writer: Tori Bowman

Eric Karl, chair of the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at Brigham Young University-Idaho, urged students to develop a spirit of excellence in their lives at today's devotional.

Brother Karl outlined three areas in which students should focus as they strive to become more excellent. The first was physical excellence. Karl emphasized the importance of healthy eating habits, regular exercise, and involvement in wholesome activities. He encouraged students to become more active on campus, promising that it would enrich their university experience.

The next area he discussed was mental excellence. He talked about his experiences working in the technology industry. He said that as part of his work responsibilities he had to hire recent college graduates and sometimes he also had to fire them. He explained that the difference between the ones he hired and the ones he fired was their sense of quality and excellence.

Karl said that as a manager, he did not expect his employees to be perfect or to know everything. He simply expected them to try their hardest. "I needed employees who had a good, strong work ethic, who were not afraid to ask questions," he said. "I needed folks who were not arrogant. I needed folks who would not get offended when they did something wrong and either I or someone else had to correct them. In short, I needed employees who had a real spirit of quality about them, a spirit of excellence."

The third and final area he emphasized was spiritual excellence. He encouraged students to be excellent friends: friends who care, love, listen and reach out. He also encouraged students to attend the temple often, emphasizing the powerful blessings that come through doing so. "In the temple we learn who we really are," Karl said. "We learn why we came to this earth. We learn about the trials and testing we all have. We learn about our Savior and the work that He has performed for us."

Karl concluded by urging students to always do their best. He said, "I hope that everyone of us earnestly seeks to cultivate a spirit of excellence in everything that we do. Brothers and sisters, it does take effort to do that. However, as President [Gordon B.] Hinckley said, ‘The distance between mediocrity and excellence can be ever so small.' And as you try to do a little bit more, to be a little bit better, I testify that your life will be enriched."