Updated: Jan 16
Perspective drives our emotions. Every act that happens upon us usually gets cast into one of two camps: "good or bad". What if we stopped putting every situation into these two categories and waited for the wisdom of hindsight to show us how the event shaped our lives. Here’s a story that demonstrates this point.
Once upon a time there was a Chinese farmer whose horse ran away. That evening, all of his neighbors came around to commiserate. They said, “We are so sorry to hear your horse has run away. This is most unfortunate.” The farmer said, “Maybe.”
The next day the horse came back bringing seven wild horses with it, and in the evening everybody came back and said, “Oh, isn’t that lucky. What a great turn of events. You now have eight horses!” The farmer again said, “Maybe.”
The following day his son tried to break one of the horses, and while riding it, he was thrown and broke his leg. The neighbors then said, “Oh dear, that’s too bad,” and the farmer responded, “Maybe.”
The next day the conscription officers came around to conscript people into the army, and they rejected his son because he had a broken leg. Again all the neighbors came around and said, “Isn’t that great!” Again, he said, “Maybe.”
I have found that using this simple wisdom as a way to look at events without the “good or bad” lens and replacing this with “Maybe” has brought me a lot of freedom. We can all think of events that seemed "bad" at the time but ended up putting us in a position of happiness down the road.
What if, when we perceive an event as “bad”, we pause and not label it. Instead embrace what opportunity will come next. In doing so you will be free to determine your own reality.