“The only thing you sometimes have control over is perspective. You don't have control over your situation. But you have a choice about how you view it.” — Chris Pine
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Once upon a time there was a wise old farmer whose horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, neighbors said with sympathy, “Such bad luck!”
But farmer simply replied, “Maybe.”
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful!” the neighbors exclaimed.
Yet once again, the old man simply replied, “Maybe.”
Next day, the farmer’s son tried to ride one of the wild horses but was quickly thrown off and broke his leg. Upon hearing the news, the neighbors came to offer their sympathy on the misfortune.
The next day, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army, but seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they simply passed him by.
The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out, but all the farmer could say was, “Maybe.”
I think of this story often, as a reminder that unfortunate circumstances may actually be blessings in disguise—while also serving as a reality check that sometimes getting what you want isn’t always what’s in your best interest.
Have any of your friends ever been thrilled to land their dream job, only to find out later that the job was more of a nightmare? It’s quite the twist!
A friend of mine once threw out his back while golfing, and while at the hospital it was discovered that he had thyroid cancer. Yet because they caught it early he was able to treat it quickly and is today cancer free.
We can often be quick to say “Congratulations” to a dream job and “I’m so sorry” for an injured back, yet these two examples are sound reminders that perhaps taking a page from the wise old farmer’s book can be a valuable practice for not taking everything for granted and instead maintaining an open mind and an open perspective.
What might you do to widen your perspective of the people, events, and challenges around you?
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Jonas Cain is an educator, facilitator, and coach, working to engage, empower, and encourage leaders and the people they serve to experience joy.