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William S. Cottringer

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Books
· Reality Repair

· Reality Repair Rx: Knowing What's Up and What's Not

· Do What Matters Most

· P Point Management

· The Bow-Wow Secrets

· You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too.


Short Stories
· We are all Prisoners In The Vicious Circle Tit For Tat Bullying Tag Game

· Doing What Matters Most:: Simplifying Your Overload

· Success by Default

· Finding a Title to Your Book

· Hannah's Christmas Wish

· The Dream

· My Brick Wall


Articles
· 20 Writing Tips for Better Results

· Elements of Critical Thinking

· ACCEPT ADVERSITY, BOUNCE BACK & GET GOING

· Five Pillars Of Happiness

· Little Laws 4 Big Success

· The Cllenge For Returning Veterans

· Be Your Best Self By Not trying To Be A Better You

· Staying Happy in Hopeless Situations

· The Tao of New Information Age Time Management

· Two Questions Worth Answering


Poetry
· Going Up of Down?

· A Photographer's Eye

· The Familiar Stranger

· Default Man

· The One Thing to Check

· Suicide Survivor

· Choice of Rebirth

· When

· My Best Teacher

· What Is Time?

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The Two Things God Wants From You
By William S. Cottringer
Posted: Friday, August 30, 2002
Last edited: Friday, August 30, 2002


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Recent stories by William S. Cottringer
· We are all Prisoners In The Vicious Circle Tit For Tat Bullying Tag Game
· Doing What Matters Most:: Simplifying Your Overload
· Success by Default
· Finding a Title to Your Book
· Hannah's Christmas Wish
· The Dream
· My Brick Wall
           >> View all 8
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INTRODUCTION

Understanding and Accepting God’s Way of Life

"Good propaganda must precede real events" (Erich Ludendorff).

It was 6:05 p.m. Friday night September 12, 2001. I was just finishing up some last minute details at my office in St. Louis before leaving for the weekend. I know the exact time because I always leave at least ten minutes before then on Fridays. Suddenly I heard a peculiar voice in my head say, “Call Alfred DeMartini in Philadelphia right now.” At first I thought it was odd, because I always called Alfred “Al.” And the “command” wasn’t just once. It was several times. I dialed the number but couldn’t reach my high school pal that night. I left a strange message about my intuitive concern about something being wrong. I worried a little that Al might have concerns about my mental health.

Nearly two weeks later I received a sad e-mail note from Al saying that that his brother, Frank, who was the Construction Superintendent of the World Trade Center, was killed helping others evacuate the tower he was in at the time. I could see Frank’s face vividly as the little boy Al and I use to teasingly call “Franchise Tax,” because of what we were learning in Miss Henry’s Civics class. I only hope the DeMartini family got some consolation from my book that I sent them.

Haven’t you had similar experiences once you think about it? Ones which seem strange at the time and even stranger later on? How do you explain such experiences?

I can’t imagine any one of you not having some nagging spiritual questions that you either try to answer or try to avoid. Why are you here? What is the purpose of all this? Where are we going? Why? Is there actually a God out there directing this show or is that just an idea we invented to give us meaning, hope and comfort? I also can’t imagine you never having the sensation that you already know you know the answers to these highly relevant questions.

You can either accept God or reject Him, but there is no way you can ignore Him. He is like a huge Technicolor, animated traffic sign hanging over the freeway saying, “Ignore This Sign.” How can you possibly ignore words you have already seen any more than you can ignore your brain’s vivid image of the miraculous splendor and infinitely perfect details of life obviously created by one greater than us? The only real mystery is why some accept God, and all that comes with the belief, while others hesitate or outright reject Him. There are miracles and other convincing proof all around us that some people may be looking right at and not really seeing. We need to be exploring the gap between those who accept God as the Creator and follow His will and those who don’t.

Personally, I have never been without God (even though I wasn’t necessarily doing His will) and I wonder what it is like for people who think they have. Is this even possible? What kind of unbearable loneliness would that be? My suspicion is that nobody is really alone. They may just be unaware of God's whispers or the proof of His ordinary miracles. When you avoid asking the most important questions, you miss hearing the most useful answers.

I have been influenced by a theory proposed by early psychologists who boldly attempted to bridge the gap between the science of psychology and religion. They suspected that God resides in our unconscious minds. Knowing and experiencing God is thus merely a matter of becoming more conscious. The thought that the Holy Ghost has been hiding in the back of my head is quite amusing. God does seem to have a grand sense of humor. A quick trip to the zoo will confirm that observation! But for right now, I think I will stick with my own theory that my soul is a tiny part of God and it is my soul that might be unconscious to my mind.

Although God has been with me since the beginning, my image of Him has certainly evolved radically over the years. I’ve certainly been mad as hell with an all-powerful, manipulative God for dumping unfair burdens on me or not giving me things I felt I deserved. On more than one occasion I denounced His existence by screaming paragraphs of obscenities and even threatened to switch allegiance to the devil if things didn't quickly change for the better. I’m just glad those tirades didn't offend Him or that He didn't take me seriously. God certainly is patient, understanding and forgiving, isn’t He?

My own faith has been shaken to its roots by bloody heartaches and unbearable hardships— almost to the point of no return, but somehow my faith didn’t cross the threshold. I knew he was still there just as others do who have their doubts when they mourn the unfair and sudden loss of an infant child or cherished loved one, face the maddening and scary break-up of a thirty-year marriage, bear the shame of financial ruin or become anguished by the haunting effects of evil terrorism or landscape-changing natural disasters.


Developing a Mature Relationship with God

If we don’t always get our questions and prayers answered, it isn’t because there isn’t a God. We may be asking the wrong questions. Or we may not be asking for the right things, not liking what we hear, or blaming God for too much. Those seem to be hard lessons to learn.

I finally started making progress in my own journey when I stopped asking for certain things to happen or not happen and started thanking God for all that I have. I started making even more progress when I began asking for the intelligence and creativity to see the smart things to do in problem situations, along with the courage and determination to do those things. Of course, the major gains have come when I learned to ask the right questions and made a commitment to find out the right answers. Others seem to agree with these humble observations.

Along with our moments of doubt, we all have special moments in our lives where we are drawn closer to God, having inexplicable, mixed feelings of joy, mystery, peace, glory and excitement. We may be communing with nature, having peek communication with a close friend, watching an inspiring movie, mediating in one way or the other, having a strange urge to do something or experiencing serendipity or déjà vu.

Some of the time these experiences are obvious and other times you see their significance much later on. In a church discussion group in which I participate, one member said these might be the “ah-ha” experiences with which God judges His own success. The more of these a person has, the better. They are the soul’s nourishment, like ideas are for the mind and feelings are for the heart.

I think a special moment in my life was when I finally discovered the one thing we are all looking for in one form or another—true love. This discovery was a serendipitous one only coming after a combined 105 years of finding out what love wasn’t. The serendipity of this experience was even more profound because it was the very word “serendipity” that was mainly responsible for our connecting. An abbreviation of the word now makes up the license plate on our Mini Cooper., which we drove around the parking lot before and after the movie Serendipity. What fun!

Regarding my encounters with the love phenomenon, Scott Peck’s wonderful book, The Road Less Traveled, hit too close to home after-the-fact. Too bad I didn’t read his words twenty five years ago when they were written. But would I have applied them to prevent the marriage disasters I helped create? Probably not.

At any rate, discovering that love is just something you consciously will yourself to do in growing and nurturing yourself and others spiritually—and not an overwhelming, romantic feeling you fall into under the stars with your one and only, or the reward you get for devoting a life of painful self-sacrifices to earn—is still changing my life. Love is just an ordinary conscious volition that has very extraordinary consequences. That is a simple but profound insight that only serendipity can deliver.

Another special moment came when I began to realize that I was in partnership with God. Instead of just being an ordinary “employee,” I was promoted to the management team with some voting privileges. This was kind of odd, because I was actually unemployed at the time going lower on the down elevator! In fact, I was jobless, homeless, penniless and nearly humorless! Obviously God is the CEO and major stockholder, but we are now working together as “partners” carrying out a common mission to continue this mysterious process of creation he started.

And then there have been many littler moments—such as what James Redfield calls meaningful coincidences and what has been termed the small, still voice of God. It was not by chance that I met Bob and Larry at a training program inside Marion Federal Penitentiary in 1971. We have all been lifelong friends since then, helping one another through our darkest nights and sharing the brighter moments too. We share an ordinary love that has had some spectacular results.

I have already mentioned about the voice to call my friend Al. Then there was the time I was cleaning off my desk and dropped my address book which just happened to open up to a particular friend’s name and phone number. “Call Melinda,” the voice said repeatedly. I called her only to find that she was on her deathbed. Our phone conversation is one that I will never forget. It did us both good. All those events and the many more they remind me of are so much clearer now. They were not random, chance occurrences.

While I am at it, let me tell you about a few more odd experiences. Isn’t this the way it happens—remember one and the floodgate opens. When I think back, I now realize I have been on an active spiritual journey for nearly sixty years. There have been lots of clues and nurturing that I didn’t recognize or understand at the time.

About a third of the way along this journey I was assigned gate duty on the midnight shift at one of the smaller back entrances to Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Vietnam in May of 1964. Intelligence reports indicated that a surprise attack was likely from “Charlie”at the back gates. The typical approach was to create chaos with crashing a bomb-packed vehicle through the barbed wire barricades around the gate, followed by heavily armed, crazed, charging Vietcong regulars. As a scared 19 year old kid, I wondered what I could possibly do to avoid this fate. It was the first time I had ever faced immanent death. So I prayed—really prayed. Miraculously nothing happened that night, which was an answer to my prayer that I heard but didn’t hear.

Then on the last day of an R & R trip to Hong Kong, I missed my plane back to Vietnam. I was doing some last minute shopping and lost track of time. What I didn’t know was my scheduled plane took off a little early, flying just a few yards off the runway and crashing into the ocean, killing everyone aboard. My mother knew I was there at the time and when the news about the crash came out, she was sure she had lost her only son. She even contacted the American Red Cross for confirmation. Believe it or not, I am just now feeling the full significance of this event as I write about it nearly forty years later, which reminds me of another experience…

It was my last duty day in Vietnam. I was scheduled to be part of the guard force protecting General William Westmorland’s residence. My workmates agreed that I should have my last day off. On the way to their assignment that day, a 12-year old enemy civilian tossed a hand grenade into the truck killing all five security police instantly. That is the first time I sensed that I might have a guardian angel watching out for me. She helped me avoid a few more close calls in college too and I stopped counting, fearing I was getting too close to the last of my nine lives.

Somewhere in the middle of these sixty years, I was lying on my bed meditating about answers to serious moral questions such as right and wrong behavior. I became really bold and asked God outright, “Give me a sign I can see!” At that very moment, a large wooden cross that I had handcrafted and carefully hung on the wall above the bed, came tumbling down on top of me. I wasn’t hurt, but quite astounded. That should have been quite enough to never have any doubts, but as you know, it wasn’t. How much proof do we need?

My biggest challenge in trying to tell you the rest of this story is the same that faces other writers, ministers, evangelists, musicians, artists and anyone else who attempts to show ultimate spiritual truths—that being trying to speak the unspeakable to let the audience know the unknowable, which I am just beginning to know myself. But I sense I would be cheating myself and you if I didn’t give it my best shot.

A Burning Question to Ask

Being in a partnership with God is a huge responsibility. It is not something you take lightly and it doesn't come free. Of course I started out being a rebellious, spiritually immature, self-centered brat mainly concerned about what I wanted from God without much thought of what He might want from me. Right now I am spending more time thinking about my responsibilities in this mutual partnership. Some would say it is about time! I can’t argue with that indictment, because I am guilty as charged.

Have you ever asked yourself, "What does God want from me?" If you haven't asked that question yet, you may want to consider doing so. The answer can have a life changing effect on you. You may go from “knowing” God to really knowing Him, or from rejecting to accepting Him. And it doesn’t have to be a mystery figuring out what God really wants from you. The answer is probably much simpler than you imagine and it may be right under your nose.

If you have already asked this important question and started living out the answer, don’t be shy about asking the question again from time to time. The answer may change over time. The process of creation in which we are all partners with God is still evolving. Some are just not fully aware of that reality yet.

In addition to focusing too much on what we want from God, another common mistake many of us make in the beginning of our spiritual journeys is to focus too much on what God doesn’t want from us. This mistake leads us to develop a deeply disturbing (and illusory) sense of separation from God.

Consequently we are not exploring our freedom to grow and become better in serving God willfully and enthusiastically. Instead we are reacting adversely to our unpleasant notion of being controlled by an external force, along with getting paralyzed by our fears of changing. We struggle to resist the inevitable conclusion that this is God’s world and surrendering ourselves to Him until the last possible moment. We are actually acknowledging God’s power by rejecting Him because things may not be exactly as we would like them to be. But we suspect there is some reason for all this, which is God’s doing. We just don’t fully understand it.

We have all been given varying doses of "Thou shall not…" But that approach doesn’t seem to work very well does it? I think I have thoroughly exhausted most items on the list of holy no-no's single-handedly, but I just had to experience the negative consequences of doing these things firsthand in order to know better. I wasn’t much on being motivated by fear and I certainly don’t like being controlled. Like most other people, I want to figure out things on my own and I have my own way of doing these things (or put another way— making my own mistakes).

Now with the advantage of hindsight I realize I wasn't necessarily being "bad" or doing "wrong," but just loitering, not being very smart, and not attending to my part in the partnership with God. What I should have admitted to myself was that I wasn’t getting the results I wanted—to be happy, successful and content. That always seems to be a hard reality to admit, doesn’t it?

When I finally gave up trying to learn all the "wrong" things to avoid (shamefully because there weren't very many left), I slowly began to let go of my tight grip on life and surrender my rebellious will. This was helped along by the fact that I had squandered away everything good and had nothing left. Failure at this point was no longer deniable.

In my deep, dark hole I got a glimpse of a few simple things God wanted from me in return for all that he had given me, which I had foolishly wasted. I guess I had conveniently forgotten about all those good things in my rebellion, recklessness and lust for finding my own greener pastures. Sound familiar?

At any rate a distinct sense of partnership was finally emerging for me, allowing me to see a little more of the bigger picture, including my responsibilities and obligations as a participating partner with God. The irony is that these requests that God wanted from me turned out to be the same things I actually wanted too. Imagine the surprise in finding out that revelation! Sometimes it just takes awhile to understand the most powerful insights. If you have already experienced this, then you will appreciate the irony. If not, you have something to look forward to.

You have waited long enough to find out the answer to the teasing title of the book. There are actually only two things God wants from you. These are:

1. Become your best.
2. Help out a little.

Much of becoming your best involves shedding illusions and gaining more awareness of truth—or at least transferring it from the unconscious to the conscious mind. Becoming your best also involves exploring what important things aren’t, such as love, in order to discover what they are. Behind becoming your best is the uncompromising, totally committed will to grow and improve, despite all obstacles. The most perplexing question for me is why some people have this and some don’t. It is the Grand Canyon between people.

I suppose the answer is that we were all given the precious gift of free will, which takes a long time to fully comprehend. It is the key to finding out the power you have in creating your own reality, by slowing down to notice the intimate connection between the choices you continually make and the results you get. The process is a catch-22 situation in which you have to experience a certain amount of success in making the littler realities you want, before you build your confidence in believing in your power, beyond a reasonable doubt. Of course, the more you believe in your power, the more powerful you become in creating your own reality.

This combined act of will—believing in your ability to create your own reality and then committing yourself to learning, growing and improving—can be the sole purpose of life for those who understand its power. It is not a shortcut; it is a lifelong journey with plenty of uncomfortable struggles and suffering. The odd thing about it is that it runs contrary to just about everything we see in life. All rivers and streams run downhill to empty themselves, rather than vice versa.

Granting God’s second request, helping out, is practicing the wisdom and soul-sharing true love and other important things that you finally discover from applying your determination to become your best. Put another way, the two parts of our spiritual journey are different sides of the same coin: To become whole so we can be holy.

The main barriers to doing these two things are our natural, plentiful tendencies toward lacking awareness and being rebellious, change-resistant, irresponsible, fearful, and lazy in not wanting to increase that awareness. This may be the conscious Way of Life that our unconscious minds are struggling to change. But it is like trying to swim up a waterfall. You can’t do it but you do it anyway.

Approaching Things in the Wrong Order

When you understand why you should do these two things, accept the wisdom of doing them, learn how to do them, and make the conscious effort to begin doing them, things change for the better. You will achieve all the happiness, success, and contentment that you ever dreamed about when you were still struggling to get what you wanted and to avoid doing and undoing all the “wrong” things. Just like me, many other people seem to have these priorities flip-flopped. We have to fall hard before we can run with grace. We fail before we succeed. We learn what something isn’t before we learn what it is.

We tend to run full speed ahead trying feverishly to change everything for the better before we even get to know what we are already part of. No small wonder why we experience so much failure, but nothing changes until we admit the folly of the wrong order in which we are approaching these things.

When we reverse the order of our “attack” on life to a more understanding and accepting one by making the effort to fit in first, we find that not too many things really need changing and at the same time we learn how to best change the few that do. This is getting twice as far with half the effort. I call this smart success—or the simple art of being smart. Smartness isn’t made up of IQ points. It is understanding the influence of your attitude and the way you approach things.

This is the normal process of success— developing from the inside-out after realizing the futility of the outside-in approach. There are many opportunities to learn this valuable lesson, and I have to admit I was a slow learner on this one.

For example, when I was a young psychotherapist, I wanted to cure everyone from his or her mental illnesses in a few easy sessions. After all, I had a full arsenal cures from ordinary behavior modification techniques to elaborate will training procedures. Of course this was before I took the time that was needed to see how my own personal shortcomings where getting in the way and to discover that it was me who needed to be understood and cured first. I wonder how many innocent people I harmed during that learning experience. None seriously I hope.

I also use to think I was a good teacher and trainer. Part of my spiel was to challenge students and trainees with my clever wit, “All that you think you know may not necessarily be so.” In a flash one night I realized I was probably just becoming what I already thought I was. I had to become a “student” again before I was finally able to successfully apply all the good education and experiences I had learned earlier to become better at what I try to do. Now the more I continue to learn, the more I help others learn. Why is the correct order of these two things so hard to learn?


In the normal course of life, we start out wanting the prize of happiness, success and contentment, before we deserve it by doing the two simple things that God wants from us first.


God’s Way of Life is so simple that we feel an overwhelming compulsion to add to it, take away from it, and re-arrange the events to our own liking. But our interventions never work and that is the inevitable realization that finally leads to complete and utter surrender. As it turns out, we may just be giving into another, previously unknown part of ourselves, which is in our unconscious union with God. The more adventuresome and imaginative we are the more glamorous and intriguing our surrender stories are. But in the end, nothing is new with surrender stories; they are just old and retold in different words. This book is my version.
In His perfect Way of Life God gives us the priceless gift of life; we are thankful, use our free will correctly, become our best and help out in the spiritual evolution aspect of the ongoing creation process; and then God rewards us with happiness, success and contentment. How can you go wrong with this thoughtful, more-than-fair setup? What else could you possibly want? What is so difficult about accepting this simple, just reality? What more are we looking for?

Right now I am kicking myself for taking so long to see this obvious truth. As a psychologist, I should have recognized that life is really one big behavior modification program, much earlier that I did. You can’t beat it (and shouldn’t even want to) so why not join it and let it work to your benefit? Better late than never, I guess. As the saying goes, life has to be understood backwards but lived forwards. Hindsight is always 20-20.

Although this basic partnership equation seems fairly easy and straightforward, carrying it out takes considerable time and effort. After all, becoming an overnight success often takes a lifetime of preparation!

Let’s take a closer look at the two things God wants from you.

BECOMING YOUR BEST

"Good, better, best; never let it rest 'till your good is better and your better is best" (Anonymous).

It is a lifelong process to grow, improve and become the best you can be. "Best" simply means the greatest degree of excellence possible. Only you know what your own best is and how to be that way. However, once you start becoming better, your “best” keeps getting better. Your outer boundaries keep expanding exponentially with each new moment of acting in partnership with God and granting His first request. The farther you reach, the farther you are pulled.

Yes, you get lazy, take breaks along the way and even wander way off the straight path, but somehow you keep coming back and moving forward. According to the Talmud there are angels behind every blade of grass whispering, “Grow, grow!”

Becoming your best isn’t always an easy, smooth process. Fortunately there are a few things you can do to make the journey a little smoother, if you want. You don’t have to reinvent the entire wheel. Here are five clues I have learned from my own personal experiences and the experiences of others, most of them the hard way. Taking the first step is often the hardest part.

1. Get to know yourself really well.
2. Develop the skills that count.
3. Abandon your comfort zone.
4. Become a psychological champion and hero.
5. Be a raving "fan" of life.

Each of these clues will be covered in more depth in the following pages. The nice thing about them is that they are all very much inter-related and so they can be approached in any order. Start at the beginning, middle or end and you will still hit them all. Or, just concentrate on the one of your choice and you will be doing the others too. It really isn’t that difficult at all once you make the right choice to continue learning and growing.


HELPING OUT

"The best way to cheer yourself up is to try and cheer somebody else up"
(Mark Twain).

God has a second request. He needs you to help out. Whether you want to believe it or not, He can't do everything Himself. Life is a dynamic partnership between God and us. When he gave us all free will, this ability opened the door to some difficult problems, inevitable mistakes, tragic heartaches and even what Rabbi Kushner calls “random accidents." These things all need solving, soothing and correcting. We all need to do our part in helping out with this ongoing collective, creative effort to recover from setbacks and move forward. We do this by learning how to use the power of love.

Here are a few specific ways you can help out that seem to get the best results:

1. Listen to all the clues.
2. Be a likable role model.
3. Help others grow and become successful too.
4. Keep focused.
5. Leave your own private legacy.

Again, these five clues are all inter-related and you can choose your own starting point. Each clue will be discussed in more detail in the coming pages.




Where is The Proof of This?

You are probably asking yourself, "Now how does he know this is what God wants from me?" or “Why should I believe him?” No, I haven't had any special divine communication, at least that I know of. These two things—becoming your best and helping out, with the various suggestions as to how to do those things—are simply some secrets and suspicions I have shared and affirmed with enough other people that their truth seems to be compelling. I am just sharing this autobiographical version of how God has worked in my life, to inspire you to do the same with others. You have a similar story to figure out how to tell.

I do know this for certain: By doing these two simple things that God wants, you will be living out a deeply meaningful purpose to your life that will reward you with an abundance of happiness, success and contentment. What more could you possibly want? How easier could it be? What is holding you back? If you are not as happy, successful and content as you would like to be, all you have to do is grant God’s two requests.

Once I surrendered to God’s simple little success formula my ride has been more of an inner tube float down a slow, meandering river on a warm, breezy, sunny day. But believe me, I have been in a few bottomless pits in my life. I have even seen a light at the end of the tunnel that turned out to be a freight train!

At times I felt as though I was being sucked up by what Father James Harris calls a giant vacuum cleaner. I was tumbling head over heals in this humongous vacuum hose along with boulders, trees, icebergs, metal utility storage units, bathtubs, chainsaws, deer antlers, apartment buildings, chain link fences, hail stones and tornado winds. It has been a rough ride at times, with lots of scrapes, bruises, broken bones and headaches.

Some of you may be skeptical about the wisdom of surrendering to God’s simple way of life. You may feel that it is a weak cop out that will lead you to boring mediocrity. You may be too hesitant to relinquish control or afraid of change. Or you may not believe it works at all. To those objections I say seek out some people who you know to be highly successful and happy. Ask them if they do these two things. But you already know they do. You can't resist the truth and simplicity of this little success secret. It is just a matter of time until you try it out when you think nobody is looking

If by chance you have the advantage of already knowing about this simple success formula, don’t get too cocky because you haven’t crossed the finish line yet! And if you have only tried it out half-heartedly, maybe now is the time to get your head, heart and hands working together in a 100% effort. You can always become better and help out more! The better you become the more you have to offer. Aren't you already seeing more possibilities right now? You can rest and catch your breath, but you can’t ever stop learning, growing, and moving forward—you have either already made the right choice or the opportunity is forever available.

Why Did I Write This Book?

I don't know about you, but when I go into a major bookstore or shop on-line for any type of self-help, motivational, success, inspirational, professional development or spiritual books, the choices are just too overwhelming. There are too many intriguing titles and there is literally no end to the useful information that is available. Bookshelf space is at a premium and I wonder how many other great books don't even make it to print or the bookstores.

So, in a small way I am just trying to help alleviate this dreadful situation by joining a variety of learning and simplifying all the chaos of information into a more manageable form. This book is just about two simple things you can do to integrate all the aspects of your life and achieve a high level of happiness, success and contentment as a reward. With the amount of information available and the limited time to consume it, this simple approach should be appealing and useful.

I have another more personal reason for writing this book. My earlier book, You Can have Your Cheese & Eat It Too, had some great ideas and was packaged quite cleverly. But it was just a start. So in the spirit of becoming better, this is an even better book, which gets closer to the truth that I am certain everyone wants.

In this book I want to apply some important information I discovered the hard way as to who the audience really is and what readers actually want from such books as this one. There are four groups of people in the world and I am taking direct aim at 2.5 of them, knowing very well the entire first group and part of the second one are beyond my ability to reach.

First, there is that group of people who are asleep and not at all interested in learning, growing or making progress in their personal and spiritual development. My only question to this group is, “Why don’t you want more out of your life?” Sadly, that question won’t even get heard, let alone answered.

Next, there is the group of people who have just started their journey—some completely content with stopping where they are with their satisfying, simplistic, fundamentalist beliefs, and others who sense there is more to come as they begin to question simplistic interpretations. All I can do is be patient with the first half of this group, even though I “know” there is more. My oldest daughter is in this group and she is a very good person, living out her spiritual beliefs in a successful manner. She also seems genuinely happy and content. Of course, I will be here for her if her black and white world ever starts turning gray.

With the others in this second group, I will try to encourage you to pick up the pace with personal stories, intriguing questions and words of inspiration. But just be prepared for a long journey, with lots of twists and turns, water over the highway, and unpaved gravel roads. Resist your natural tendency to want shortcuts and quick cures. Besides, you are already beginning to realize that those are not the things that will give you the level of happiness, success and contentment you are looking for.

Thirdly, there are those of you that have already begun the surrendering process and made substantial progress in applying God’s Way of Life. But you are just beginning to realize the meaning of infinity and to discover that there is another 9,000% + in your reserve of unlimited potential. Even though the information in this book may not be entirely new to you, it can begin to take on new significance in meaning. Or you might just be reminded of the more important things to re-practice at a higher level. I aim to challenge you to achieve the greatness that is brewing in you. Your resting time may be over.

And then of course, there is the smaller group of you who are already “there” and you are wondering what the heck is taking the rest of us so long to join you. You are anxiously waiting to applaud us upon our belated arrival. This book will certainly amuse you if nothing else. It might even get you to re-ask the question, "What does God want from me?" You might not be done yet! And of course, the more people who join you, the bigger the crowd to spread the word!

I am also giving you the four corners that you all said you wanted in a widespread reader survey I carried out—truth, hope, inspiration and instruction. I will do this in varying doses: logical, sound concepts that explain important problems and wise principles that chart the right course; real experiences and softer feelings that are relative and comforting; creative new ideas and clever questions that stimulate you to grow; and practical solutions that you can apply right now and get immediate results.

I am attempting to communicate the most important things I have discovered that are worth sharing, in a clear and simple way to connect with the widest possible audience and meet these "four corners" of expectations equally. If I am successful, please let me know personally. Book sales will do that impersonally, but there is nothing like personal acknowledgment. We all need it.

All my own personal learning experiences appear to have led me to understanding what might be the single most important skill in life. This is learning how to move toward a position of balance where you can quickly recognize moments of impending opportunity (right choices that lead to spiritual growth and positive consequences) as opposed to moments of impending danger (wrong choices that impede or destroy spiritual growth and have negative consequences).

Opportunities appear to come when you accept God and grant Him His two simple requests. Dangers appear to come when you do anything else. Perhaps this skill is an emotional instinct hidden in our souls that our conscious minds have forgotten. There is something else I am beginning to remember. Maybe we can achieve extraordinary results from a more balanced position of just being ordinary. Sometime the greatness we reach for is closer than we think.
Now let's find out more about these two things God wants from you and why you might want to consider doing them. Many of you already are and so the question for you is are you doing them enough? As you probably know by now, life has a funny way of continuously raising the "best" bar. Whether you are like the bear who hibernates in the winter or the goose who flies south during the cold weather, you can always learn a better way to sleep or fly and more ways to help others do those things too.

As a friend of mine and author of The Power Within, Allen Johnson, said once, “I think God wants us to be perpetual learning machines.” So, let’s learn! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Regardless of how much you already know, it isn’t enough.

The more you learn, the more you will experience God. The more you experience God the more you will know about what He wants from you. The more you find out about these two things He wants from you, the more inclined you will be to do them. And the more you do them, the happier and more successful and content you will be. Things will only keep getting better. Happy journey!

Tell me it isn’t so: Aren’t we just remembering what we already know?

Bill Cottringer



Web Site: The Prosperity Zone  

Reader Reviews for "The Two Things God Wants From You"


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Reviewed by William Cottringer 2/21/2014
Amazing "coincidences" John. Great comment. Thanks. Bill C.
Reviewed by John Gasparro Jr. 2/20/2014
In reading this short story, I would occasionaly stop, squint my eyes, and turn my head sideways. It was as if you were telling the story of MY lifes experiences. With all due respect; I had experienced many of the same experiences as you, and traveled the same road of discovery. As a Marine in Vietnam, I had a similar experience as you. Circumstances saved my life--more than once. Like you, I had a few "angel" experiences too! Like the one when I had left the Hollywood business and headed home to "get my mind right." I was heading across the Mojave desert and climbing the long upgrade of the continental divide. The engine in my small, loaded down sports car made a loud banging sound and the engine just stopped! I prayed to God to push my car up over the mountain so that I could have a chance to coast to a gas station and fix the car. In an instant, the car just quietly rolled up the mountain to the crest and over top. I coasted to a gas station in Kingman Ariz. There, they took the engine apart and said: "your engine has exploded inside and some of the valves are missing metal!" He showed me one. I knew then that an angel had pushed me up and over, so that I could continue my journey home. True story! Only someone like you would believe me because of your own encounters. There were other more horrifying incidents in my life where God's presence was evident. There was a movie [Unbreakable] starring Bruce Willis, and in that movie, Willis was stalked by a man who wanted to find out why he doesn't die in so many accidents he is involved in. Watching that movie, I couldn't help but wonder if they had heard me tell my story to some directors in Hollywood, who took notes and wrote the script!

John


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