“What is the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity? Our attitude toward it. Every opportunity has a difficulty, and every difficulty has an opportunity.” – J. Sidlow Baxter
There is a Chinese proverb that has guided my thought process for many years. The story goes as follows:
An old man raised horses for a living. One day, one of his prized horses ran away. Hearing of his misfortune, a neighbor came to comfort him. The old man replied “May be good, may be bad, who knows.” A week later, his horse returned—with another beautiful horse. This time, the neighbor returned to congratulate the old man on his great fortune. Again, the old man replied “May be good, may be bad, who knows.” The next day, his son went out for a ride on the new horse. The wild horse threw the boy, breaking his leg in the process. The neighbor came by once again, this time to give his sympathy. And yet again, the old man replied “May be good, may be bad, who knows.” Weeks later, the Emperor’s army arrived at the village to recruit all of the young men to fight in the war. The old man’s son could not go off to war, and was spared from a certain death.
It’s a great story, with so many lessons. Like the old man, we are all on a path with many different twists and turns. It’s how we handle each situation that will determine our levels of joy and satisfaction in life.
Negative things will happen: It is part of the human experience. Are we able to accept, learn and grow? If we follow the old man’s lead, the choice is entirely our own to make.