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October 20, 2022

Learning to say “GOOD”

Jocko Willink is a former Navy seal, the author of several books and the host of the Jocko podcast.   He’s not a Christian, but he has a life philosophy that every Christian who believes in the sovereignty of God should embrace: the ability to say “GOOD” no matter what.  And this is remarkably like what James tells us to do in James 1:2-4.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Jocko shared the following on his third podcast:

“How do I deal with setbacks, failures, delays, defeats, or other disasters? I actually have a fairly simple way of dealing with these situations, summed up in one word:


This is something that one of my direct subordinates, one of the guys who worked for me, a guy who became one of my best friends pointed out.

He would pull me aside with some major problem or issue that was going on, and he’d say, “Boss, we’ve got this thing, this situation, and it’s going terribly wrong.”

I would look at him and say, “Good.”

And finally, one day, he was telling me about something that was going off the rails, and as soon as he finished explaining it to me, he said, “I already know what you’re going to say.”

And I asked, “What am I going to say?”

And he said, “You’re going to say: ‘Good.’

He continued, “That’s what you always say. When something is wrong or going bad, you just look at me and say, ‘Good.’”

And I said, “Well. I mean it. Because that is how I operate.”

So, I explained to him that when things are going bad, there’s going to be some good that will come from it.

Oh, the mission got canceled? Good… We can focus on another one.
Didn’t get the new high-speed gear we wanted? Good… We can keep it simple.
Didn’t get promoted? Good… More time to get better.
Didn’t get the job you wanted? Good… Go out, gain more experience, and build a better resume.
Got injured? Good… Needed a break from training.

That’s it. When things are going bad: Don’t get all bummed out, don’t get frustrated. No. Just look at the issue and say: “Good.”

I’ve been thinking about this concept over the last few months and trying to say “good” amidst trials, obstacles and setbacks and MEAN it.  If I truly believe in the sovereignty of God, then I should be able to “consider it pure joy” regardless of the difficulty I face.  It doesn’t require me to “fake it till I make it” or wear a “happy mask” all the time.  I can say “good,” KNOWING that God is in the challenging situation with me and He is using it to make me a better man.  According to James, there is a huge pay off when we persevere through trials…

Something bad happens?  Good…a chance to place my faith and trust in God.

Unexpected setback? Good…a chance to grow in patience and endurance. 

Someone does me wrong?  Consider it pure joy…a chance to extend grace.

Didn’t handle a situation as well as I could have?  Consider it pure joy…a chance to learn and do better next time.

How would your life change if you embraced a “consider it pure joy” mindset?

Do you believe that God is with you, regardless of the obstacles you face?



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