I am a Dad to five children, four of which are living. The ages range from 13 to 33. As a result, I have had the pleasure of helping raise little tykes twice, which means a whole lot of animated shows and movies.

One of the TV series that my younger two daughters liked to watch in their early days was a show called The Backyardigans. The show had a usual set of characters who would go into someone’s backyard and use their imagination to create stories which were played out in each episode. There were also Backyardigans movies, which (of course) usually were brought by Santa.

In one such movie, the character Pablo played an international super spy named Agent Secret, whose catchphrase was:

“Always expect the unexpected.”

I think that is great advice for adults, too.

I personally believe – and I teach – that maintaining a positive attitude is critical to having a great life. The challenge for those of us who espouse the PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) lifestyle is that it can become easy to see ONLY the positives in life. If you never “expect the unexpected”, when the unexpected happens (as it will from time to time), it can crush you.

My wife once heard the evangelist Chuck Swindoll say this:

“You don’t know what’s in your cup until it is bumped.” In other words, you may THINK that you are a positive person, but how do you react when something goes wrong? Truth be told, THAT is what you truly believed the whole time: what spilled out of your cup when your life was “bumped.”

I think true contentment can be found by combining the words of both Agent Secret and Chuck Swindoll (a comment that probably neither of them thought they would ever hear).

By focusing on the positive side of life, you are generally happier, more upbeat, and enjoy life more.

By preparing for the day that your cup gets bumped, you will be emotionally prepared (or at least more prepared) to handle the negative things that come your way.

I want to pass along to you a story about a former business associate of mine named Danny. In the 1990’s, Danny and some of his business friends were out having a great time four-wheeling in some open fields. Danny’s cup got bumped when his four-wheeler hit a tree stump that was covered up by grass and weeds. Danny went flying through the air, and severely injured his head and spine.

When the surgeons worked on him, something amazing happened. It was so astonishing that the head surgeon came out to explain to Danny’s wife what the surgical team had just witnessed. The doctor said that he had seen many, many such head traumas. He said that in virtually every case, the injured person would be talking before – and sometimes throughout – the work the doctors did. He went on to say that people with head trauma would many times speak loudly, angrily, and usually while using vile profanity.

Not Danny.

The doctor said that the entire time they were with Danny, he was singing hymns and reciting scripture. You see, Danny had been filling his cup with words and thoughts that truly matter. They were not just “PMA” words. They were songs and verses about the God Who created him. He had been living his life preparing for the unexpected.

I believe that God, Chuck Swindoll, and Agent Secret would be proud of him.

How do you react when things do not go your way? If you do not like your previous responses to negative events, decide TODAY to start expecting the unexpected.

You will be glad that you did.