A farmer had only one horse. One day, his horse ran away. All the neighbors came by saying, “I’m so sorry. This is such bad news. You must be so upset.” The man just said, “We’ll see.” A few days later, his horse came back with twenty wild horses. The man and his son corraled all 21 horses. All the neighbors came by saying, “Congratulations! This is such good news. You must be so happy!” The man just said, “We’ll see.” One of the wild horses kicked the man’s only son, breaking both his legs. All the neighbors came by saying, “I’m so sorry. This is such bad news. You must be so upset.” The man just said, “We’ll see.” The country went to war, and every able-bodied young man was drafted to fight. The war was terrible and killed every young man, but the farmer’s son was spared, since his broken legs prevented him from being drafted. All the neighbors came by saying, “Congratulations! This is such good news. You must be so happy!” The man just said, “We’ll see.”
The farmer in this proverb is a very wise man. He realizes there is always good in the bad. And always bad in the good. Categorizing an event as “good” or “bad” allows life to toss you around like a rag doll. The truth is, we cannot control the events life throws at us- we can only control the reaction. Do you react by labeling events good/bad, or react with a solution? (more…)
Last year in Chicago I had the honor of hearing Maya Angelou speak. Sharing one of my favorites from her:
I‘ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out–
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.
- Author unknown
Psychologist Walter Mischel of Stanford University conducted an experiment with four-year-old children and marshmallows. The children were brought into a room one at a time and shown a marshmallow. They were told if “If you can resist eating the marshmallow until I come back, then you will get a second one too.” The experimenter left and returned 15 minutes later.
I free myself from hatred through forgiveness and love.
I understand that suffering, when it cannot be avoided,
is here to help me on my way to glory.
I understand that everything is connected, that all roads meet,
and that all rivers flow into the same sea.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was a master at remembering names. Some even credit his presidency to this ability. While in office, the Chrysler organization built a special car for Roosevelt (because of his paralysis he could not operate a standard car). A man by the name of W.P. Chamberlain and a mechanic delivered the car to the White House. Chamberlain writes:
“He must have heard the mechanics name only once in passing. But before leaving us, the President looked for the mechanic, shook his hand, called him by his name, and thanked him for coming to Washington.”
Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.
-The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus