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Update from Goins, Writer
Hello there.

I've been thinking a lot about life and the crazy things that happen to us. Have you ever had something terrible happen to you? Of course, you have. You're breathing.

Life is hard and full of unexpected disasters. And sometimes, if we're not careful, we can come to expect those bad things.

Where does your mind go when things go wrong? Mine does this: "I knew it. I just knew something like this would happen. It was only a matter of time."

What we fear the most

One of the oldest stories in histories is a story about a man named Job. But really it's about our hearts and what we believe about the good things in life.

In the story, God and the Devil essentially make a bet and agree to test the character of this man.

For awhile, Job withstands all the bad things the Devil throws at him, even when his wife tells him to curse God and die (great wife, eh?). But finally he says something quite telling about his — and our — worldview:

"The thing I feared the most has come upon me."

Too good to be true

This happened to me the other weekend. While on a road trip, my wife and I had finally gotten our son to fall asleep (he doesn't do well in cars), and as soon as we got back on the road, we hit a traffic jam. I immediately thought of the Alanis Morissette song: "Isn't it ironic?"

Then my mind went to dark places. And I began thinking: Man, I KNEW this was too good to be true. 

We do this when good things happen, don't we? Instead of enjoying them, we wait for the end. We delay gratitude and joy, because we know all things are temporary.

But so what? Does that discount the goodness of the moment? Of course not. And in fact, this expectation of bad things to come is, in a way, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

A paradigm-shifting idea

OK. So here's an scenario: What if the goodness didn't end?

Just think on that for a moment. I'm not talking about rainbows and daisies and unicorns and crap. I'm just wondering how your attitude might change if you didn't believe every good thing came with a catch.

So here's the big idea, the one thought that could literally change your life (and has mine):

The universe is not out to get you. God is not your enemy. Good things come to those who expect them.

Yes, life can be tough and full of heart ache. But, friend, why are you waiting for bad things to happen? If you are, I promise: you won't be disappointed. There are always shadows, even in the sunshine.

I challenge you to try this

Okay. So I want you to reply to this message, but do me a favor: Don't tell me all the reasons you can't think this way. I don't want to hear it. Look, if this guy can look at life and be thankful, our problems are small in contrast.

I don't want to minimize your struggle or pain, but I want to challenge you to consider how life might be different if you chose gratitude over fear. If you waited for good things to happen instead of wondering when the bad might come.

So here are three things I want you to try (if you're up for a challenge):
  1. Pick something in your life and say "thanks" for it. This can be anything, good or bad.
  2. When anxiety and fear overwhelm you, smile. Try it right now, for a full minute. I dare you. And see if you don't feel better afterwards.
  3. Think of one good thing you'd like to happen, and believe it. Trust that it will happen. I'm not talking about kooky hocus pocus, manifestation mumbo jumbo. I'm talking about simple hope and faith. That's all, nothing too crazy here.
Does this mean these things will happen? No, of course not. I mean, you could imagine yourself winning the lottery, and odds are that won't happen. All I'm saying is this: Our attitudes are habits, so why not practice the ones we'd prefer?

It's the difference between thinking of life as a gift as opposed to an obligation. If you've not tried it before, it's at least worth a shot, right? Reply to this email with something you're hoping for in this next week.

Here's to you thinking — and then living — differently,


P.S. If you've enjoyed my blog, would you consider nominating me for a contest? It ends tomorrow. All you have to do is mention my name, the URL, and why you read my blog. If you're game, click here.

P.P.S. I announced on the blog this week that I'm hosting a trip (based on my book) to Guatemala. Would love to have you join us. Find out more...

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