How Can I Stop Judging My Circumstances?

horse-pulling-hay-wagon-with-farmer-in-it

There’s an ancient parable about a farmer who lost his horse.

One day, his horse ran away. So, the villagers came up to him and said, “That’s bad.” He shrugged his shoulders and said, “Hard to say.”

The next day, the horse came back with seven wild horses. So, the villagers came up to him and said, “More horses, that’s good.” He shrugged his shoulders and said, “Hard to say.”

A week later, the farmer’s son was riding one of the wild horses and was thrown off it. As a result, he broke his leg. So, the villagers came up to him and said, “That’s bad.” He shrugged his shoulders and said, “Hard to say.”

The next week, the king sent word commanding all able men of age to enlist in the army for the upcoming war against a neighboring kingdom. The farmer’s son wasn’t enlisted as he had a broken leg. Now, the villagers came up to him and said, “That’s good.” He shrugged his shoulders and said, “Hard to say.”

Didn’t get the job I wanted: good or bad, hard to say. Got the job I wanted: good or bad, hard to say….

To me, the story is not about looking on the bright side or waiting to see how things turn out. It’s about how eager we can be to label a situation, to put concrete around it by judging it. But reality is much more fluid, and good and bad are often incomplete stories that we tell ourselves. The parable has been my warning that by gripping tightly to the story of good or bad, I close down my ability to truly see a situation. I learn more when I proceed and loosen my grip and proceed openly with curiosity and wonder.”

  • Heather Lanier (Ted Talk)
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