Six-year-old Johnny longed for, prayed and dreamed about getting a pony for his birthday. In his eyes, he truly NEEDED a pony. Uncle Jim knew all about Johnny’s dream. But he also was very aware of the prohibitive cost. Being a realist, he despised the weak, hopeful attitude of his nephew. So he set about teaching Johnny a lesson not to be forgotten.

Bright and early the morning of his birthday, little Johnny excitedly ran out the back door – only to find a huge pile of horse dung dumped on the lawn. Strangely unaffected and with a huge grin on his face, he began to dig through the stinking mess. He kept shoveling for a while, until finally Uncle Jim came out of the house and coldly stated, “What are you doing, kid? Quit playing in that stuff, it’s just horse manure! That’s just life and ya might as well get used to it.”

To which Johnny turned to him and eagerly said, “Yeah, I know, but with all this big ol’ pile, there has to be a pony in here somewhere!”

Sometimes life stinks, a big pile of horse dung. But attitude in life creates our outlook. And outlook tremendously affects whether we enjoy or despise living.

Don’t know about you, but somehow, I get the impression that I would rather approach the stinking parts of life with Johnny’s attitude, rather than Uncle Jim’s. The huge difference between the Johnnys and the Jims? Johnnys can keep smiling during the hard times, because they look forward to better days. Jims ruin their good times by concentrating and dreading the difficulties that are coming, and robbing themselves of enjoying what they currently have.

Difficult days and months happen for us all, we have no choice in the matter. But never forget, outlook is really important.

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