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Good Thing, Bad Thing, Who Knows?

Good Thing, Bad Thing, Who Knows?

Ancient wisdom, those eternal truths discovered by deep thinkers before the Internet and smart phones gave them attention deficit disorder, has much to offer us today.

Many of these truths are transmitted through parables. Here is one such. There are many versions of it but I like this one.

A man and his teenage son lived in a beautiful valley. They were very happy but they were also dirt-poor and the man got tired of living in poverty.

He decided to go entrepreneurial and become rich by breeding horses. He borrowed heavily from his neighbors and bought a stallion. He kept it in a paddock and, the very day he bought it, the stallion kicked the top bar loose and vanished.

The neighbors flocked around to commiserate. “You were going to become a rich man,” they said. “But now your stallion has run away and you still owe us money. How sad.” And there may have been some Schadenfreude in their sympathy.

The man shrugged his shoulders and said, “Good thing, bad thing, who knows?”

The stallion fell in with a bunch of wild horses and the man spied them in a valley close by. He was able to entice them into his paddock, which he had repaired. So he now had his stallion back plus a dozen horses. That made him a rich man by the standards of that village.

The neighbors clustered around again and there was a tinge of envy as they congratulated him. “We thought you were destitute, but Fortune has smiled on you,” they said. “You are already a rich man”

The man shrugged his shoulders and said, “Good thing, bad thing, who knows?”

The man and his son started to break the horses so they could sell them. One of them threw the man’s son and stomped on his leg. It broke and healed crooked.

Again the neighbors came. “He was such a fine young lad,” they said. “Now he will never be able to find a girl to marry.”

The man shrugged his shoulders and said, “Good thing, bad thing, who knows?”

And that very summer the king of the country declared war on a neighbor and press gangs moved through the villages rounding up all the able-bodied young men. They spared the man’s son because he had a game leg.

There were tears in their eyes as the neighbors lamented, “We don’t know if we will ever see our sons again. You are so fortunate – you still have your son with you.”

The man shrugged his shoulders and said, “Good thing, bad thing, who knows?”

And it goes on like that forever.

There is a lesson here for you and it is especially powerful if you are an entrepreneur.

Go back in your life. Has anything happened to you that, at the time it happened, you thought was a ‘bad thing’? But, looking back at it today, you can clearly see that it was not so bad and, perhaps, was even a ‘good thing?’

Most persons can recall many such instances.

So, is it possible that what you are today about to label a ‘bad thing’ could, at some point in the future, turn out to have been a ‘good thing?’

Understand that suffering does not happen when an event occurs. It begins the instant you decide the event is ‘bad’ and you can’t stand it.

If so, then why be in a hurry to label it ‘bad?’

Just asking yourself the question “Is there any possible way in which this could actually turn out to be ‘good’?” takes you to a realm of possibility. And if you take the next step and ask, “What can I do to make this happen?” you will find avenues opening up that you may never have conceived before.

This works in both your personal and professional life.

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