I’m sure we would all agree that things don’t always go as we would like.
Basically sh*t happens!
However a little story I came across years ago in a Tony Robbins book struck a chord with me. The story itself is 100s if not 1000s of years old but I think its message is just as relevant today as it was then.
Once there was old farmer who lived on the outskirts of a village. He was a little bit different.
This farmer had a stallion and one day, his horse got through a gap in his fence and ran off. To add insult to injury, the farmer had also just purchased a very expensive brand new leather saddle which the stallion was wearing. So the farmer had not only lost his prize stallion but also the expensive leather saddle.
The farmer looked at them and said: “Maybe it’s bad luck, but who knows? Maybe it’s good luck.”
As one, the villagers looked puzzled and asked the old farmer: “How could it be good luck? Your stallion, wearing a brand new saddle that you just purchased ran away?”
He said: “Well, we don’t know. Maybe it’s good luck, maybe it’s bad luck.”
The villagers left his house scratching their heads and went back to their business.
Fast-forward several days and the famer spied the stallion along with three wild horses trotting back to his farm. The farmer had his stallion back, with the saddle, plus three new, fine wild horses.
The villagers heard the news and travelled back to the farmer’s house. They Exclaimed: “That is incredible. What amazing luck you have!”
The farmer looked at them and said: “Maybe it’s good luck, but maybe it’s bad luck. Who knows?”
This confused the villagers. “How could you possibly say this was bad luck?” they exclaimed. “You had one stallion, it ran away, now you have it back AND three new ones. How lucky can you get.”
The farmer looked at them and said “Maybe it’s good luck, but maybe it’s bad luck.”
The villagers left shaking their heads, not sure what to think.
Once the villagers had left, the farmer tasked his son with training the three wild horses. This he did without question.
Several days later, as he was trying to train one of them, the horse kicked him, knocking him down and breaking his leg in several places.
The news soon spread to the villagers, who on hearing the news made their way to the farmer’s house. They said: “We’re so sorry. What terrible luck you’ve had!”
The farmer looked at them and said: “Maybe it’s terrible luck, but maybe it’s good luck.”
By this time the villagers were incredulous. “How could you possibly say this is good luck? Your only son broke his leg and won’t be able to work on your farm. Surely this is the worst of luck?”
The farmer gazed at them, contemplated what they had said, and then with an enigmatic smile said: “Maybe it’s bad luck, but maybe it’s good luck.” The villagers were now convinced the farmer was not quite right in the head.
A few days later the Emperor’s officials came through the village conscripting troops for the Emperor’s army to fight in a bloody overseas war. All able bodied young men from the village were rounded up to go and die in battle. As the son was recuperating from the broken leg, he was not considered to be fit enough to fight by the officials and so was left to recuperate in bed.
All the villagers proclaimed: “What fantastic good luck…..”
Without wanting to get too Zen like, the story really does illustrate the fact that it is worth viewing events as not good or bad…
…because time has a habit of putting events in a greater context.
I’m sure we all have stories from our past, where events that were perceived as bad at the time, turned out to have a positive outcome.
As they say, you can’t control what happens to you, but you can control the way you react to those circumstances.
Therefore the next time a project flops, rather than see it as a failure or bad luck; see it as a learning opportunity. Make sure the experience provides you with knowledge that will push you on to greater things in the future.
Take that step back, try to see things in perspective and then use what you have learned to help yourself to success.
Quite deep and meaningful today, but hopefully useful 🙂
I’d love to hear of any such Bad Luck –> Good Luck stories that you might have.