A very old Chinese Taoist story describes a farmer in a poor country village. His neighbors considered him very well-to-do. He owned a horse which he used for plowing and for transportation. One day his horse ran away. All his neighbors exclaimed how terrible this was, and would say, “wow you have such bad luck and misfortune.” The farmer would simply reply with, “Maybe.”
A few days later the horse returned and brought two wild horses with it. The neighbors all rejoiced at his good fortune and said,“wow you are luckiest man in the village!” The farmer would reply back with, “Maybe.”
The next day the farmer’s son tried to ride one of the wild horses. The horse threw him and the son broke his leg. The neighbors all offered their sympathy for his misfortune and would again say, “wow you have such terrible luck.” The farmer would continue to reply with, “Maybe.”
The next week conscription officers came to the village to take young men for the army. They rejected the farmer’s son because of his broken leg. The neighbors said, “wow, you still are the luckiest man in the village.” The farm still replied with “Maybe.”
Our perception is how we view the series of events that occur in our lives. The reality is that ‘good’ events will not always happen in your life. What exactly do I mean by ‘good’? Especially considering that a ‘good’ event to me can be a ‘bad’ event to you. So classifying an event as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ or ‘positive’ or negative’ is completely up to you, right?
Two days ago, I was a car accident with my brother. He was driving his car straight and we were hit by someone making a left turn. The car was completely totaled and my brother left the accident with a broken wrist while I came out with a broken ankle. Luckily, we were literally right in front of a hospital, so it was quite a short trip to the ER room.
My parents were feeling sorry for us and gave us a speech about how sometimes people have plain old bad luck, just like the neighbors in the story of the Chinese Farmer. I answered them with something much unexpected. I said that this accident is more of an opportunity for me because being stuck at home allows me to have more time to work on myself.
I am a strong believer in personal development and am always interested in finding new ways to grow. So for the next 6 weeks, I’ll be taking advantage of my situation and taking powerful leaps to bettering myself. Also, this is my first and hopefully my last broken bone, so now I get to experience my life in ways that I would never have before. Walking in someone else’s shoes so to speak. My parents were also quite amazed at how cheery and playful I was with the nurses in the ER room. Seeing me in that room, you would never think of me as a patient.
Your life will be a time line of events. It is your choice to whither they be ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Every event will have its positive effect along with a negative effect, but it is up to you to which effect you choose to dwell on.
Have you ever had an event that happened in your life that was portrayed as ‘bad’ to most people that you instead viewed it as ‘good’?