From loosening a rusted bolt to cleaning toilet bowls, almost everyone has used WD-40 at one point or another in their life. However, how many of us know the actual story of where WD-40 came from?
We learn from the lab book used by the chemist who developed WD-40 back in 1953 that WD-40 stands for Water Displacement, 40th attempt. The chemist at the fledgling Rocket Chemical Company, Norm Larsen, was attempting to invent a formula that would prevent corrosion by displacing water. Norm failed 39 times to invent his formula before his persistence paid off as he perfected the formula on his 40th try. WD-40 actually worked so well that employees snuck cans WD-40 out of the plant to use at home. Now, almost every home has a can of WD-40 somewhere in the house or garage.
As a car guy, I love WD-40 and I have learned a valuable spiritual lesson from the story about WD-40. Never give up. In life and in the gospel, there are times that we get knocked down and as we are trying to get up, we get knocked down again and again. It is easy at those times to want to just stay down, to give up, and to stop trying. Why keep trying if we are just going to get knocked down again? Why keep striving towards perfection when we will keep failing? Giving up is easier than continuing to try. Giving up is the easier path that seems more inviting. When you have these feelings of wanting to give up and turn way from the gospel path and the path of life, reflect on the words spoken by Mary Cook, first counselor in the young women’s general presidency:
As you are growing older, young women, the path is becoming steeper, and you may want to give up. Life is more challenging, filled with decisions and temptations at every turn. Satan will blow winds of confusion that may cause you to question if this is the path you want to take. You may be tempted to try another route, even when signs of danger are posted. You may doubt your abilities, and you may wonder as one young woman did, “Is it really possible to remain virtuous in today’s world?” The answer, my young friends, is “Yes!” And my counsel to you is similar to that given by Winston Churchill during World War II: never, never, never give up! (see “Never Give In” [speech, Harrow School, London, England, Oct. 29, 1941]).
We must never, never, never give in. If Norm Larsen had given up we would not have WD-40. If Winston Church had given up, World War II may have been lost. If each of us gives up, we lose our eternal reward. We lose our reward of returning to our Heavenly Father. We lose our reward of being with our eternal companion forever. Our Heavenly Father will support us as we strive to keep getting back up. Our Heavenly Father will help up to the finish line of life. Never, Never, Never Give In!