Good luck / Bad Luck? Shift Your Perspective

There is a Chinese story of a farmer who used an old horse to till his fields. One day the horse escaped into the hills. Upon hearing the news, his neighbours came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “Maybe” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbours exclaimed. “Maybe” replied the old man. The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbours again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “Maybe” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbours congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “Maybe” said the farmer.

When we’re knee deep in adversity, in the eye of the storm of a crisis, it’s easy to get caught up in the ‘bad luck’ story accompanying the ‘Thing’ (whatever that THING is). But as this parable so skilfully demonstrates, our current ‘bad luck’ may indeed turn out to be ‘good luck.’

Let’s be honest, so often when we think back over experiences which, at the time, we have deemed ‘bad’ (or downright disastrous if you’re a bit prone to drama like yours truly), in hindsight, this bad luck has often led to discoveries, better paths, better journeys; better destinations.

Summing-up: Everything that seems on the surface to be an evil may be a good in disguise. And everything that seems good on the surface may really be an evil. If we are open to it, misfortune offers a rich cornucopia of learning. Our biggest learning comes from our biggest mistakes.


  1. Tanya Bromfield

    Thankyou.. it is about the lens that we allow ourselves to view things through.
    Regards Tanya

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