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Remembering Yesterday's Troubles in a New Light:
Stepping Stones vs Stumbling Blocks

Dear Dr.Matt,

My name is Joshua and I come from New Jersey. I am 32 years old, and have been married for five years. We have one two year old son. Recently, I came across this quote:

"Imagine how differently the challenges in your life would feel if, instead of seeing them as troubles to be gotten rid of, you just accepted them fully as stepping stones leading to an expanding awareness of all that is good in your life."

This quote came from an article that suggested yesterday's trauma can be changed from stumbling block to stepping stone through a "simple change in perception." I've been reading your book, and I'm sure the process is not so simple. Dr. Matt, please tell me exactly how difficult moments of the past can be seen differently?

Thanks for your time,


Dear Joshua:

The quote you have cited has a great message! And you are right, a "simple change is perception" is NOT so simple. It is simply said, but NOT simply done. So exactly HOW can people experience a "change in perception" from seeing the past as stepping stone, instead of stumbling blocks?

First, I'll tell you how it's NOT done:

contrary to what as a thousand self-help books say and the ideas of the popular craze called The Secret, a lasting "change in perception" cannot be created a postive, determined Head. Instead a lasting "change in perception" is accomplished through a humble, yielding Heart. Jesus taught:

"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and
an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil:
for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh" (Luke 6: 45).

The mouth speaks according to the "abundance of the heart." It follows that the mind thinks according to the "good treasures" of the heart too! The very same mind that interprets the visual pictures of the eyes — such interpretation is called "perception." It is by the good treasures and abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks, and the mind thinks and perceives.

This means that the "change in perception" happens through a process called a "change of heart"— a fundamental change from one's core that occurs only through Faith in Christ. When Hearts are changed through the miracle of His redemptionare, the eyes see a different world.

This is HOW people come to see past adversities as "stepping stones" instead of "stumbling blocks" — it happens when Christ makes them "new creatures" (2 Cor. 5: 17).

When people try to willfully create preferred perceptions, they engage in the fruitless mental exercise I call "fake it . . . till you make it," a mind process that IS also called "Postive Mental Attitude." Essentially "PMA" involves "mental imaging," seeing yourself "as if" you are something that you're not. PMA and "The Scret" sell an erroneous assumption: if you think abou becoming a certain type of persont long enough and hard enough . . . you will eventually become what you think.

But relying upon cognitive processes alone to bring about any kind of significant change, is a dead end street. One never does "make it" using Head power alone--not in terms of changes that endure into eternity. Using Head power only, you can become a more dazzling dancer, you can raise your bowling score or sharpen your basketball jump shot.

With Head power only, you can improve your golf swing and play the piano more proficiently. BUT if you want to improve your Character and experience a genuine Change from the Heart, this happens exclusively through Christ's Redeeming Miracle—there is no other way! What does this have to do with a "change of perception" . . . everything!

You will ONLY see past trials and troubles differently and "new," as you are "made new" through faith in Jesus Christ. As you are changed from your core, it is then you will "perceive" yesterday's trials and troubles as stepping stones, instead of stumbling blocks.

The erroneous notion is that a "simple change in perception" occurs by an act of positive will power is a Flat-Earth Assumption.


Matt Moody, Ph.D.
Social Psychologist

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The Greatest Prize
for Life's labors isn't
in material possessions
or impressive accomplishments,
but in the progress of personal character.
You labor for your own becoming, this is your richest reward.
Who You Become is your greatest possession,
make it your Masterpiece!

(Changing Your Stripes, 2nd Edition, page 274)

The book, "Changing Your Stripes" presents principles for getting out of
the ditch in which you've been dumped (the difficulties of which you are a victim), and
the ditch in which you've jumped (the difficulties for which you volunteer).

"Mastering a challenging situation
is ultimately a matter of
mastering yourself!"

- Matt Moody 

"Changing Your Stripes," teaches you the principles that lead to lasting change,
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