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Motivation: Good Luck or Bad Luck, Too Soon to Tell
As the story goes, there was once a farmer and his only son in the days just before the Civil War. Having only one horse, the farmer and his son worked long hard days, sunny and cheerful, just to pass, with nothing left.
One day, when the father and son were plowing the fields, their horse was seized and they ran away. The son was destroyed; “What bad luck, now what do we do?”
The father answered; “Good luck, bad luck, too early to tell.”
The father and son continued to work on the farm. Then one day their horse comes running back over the hill with 6 other horses. The son cried, “Very lucky, now we have all the horses we need!”
To which the farmer replied; “Good luck, bad luck, too early to tell.”
The next day when the farmer and his son were working with the horses, one horse that was very difficult threw the son off his back and broke his leg. The son cried: “Oh father, I’m so sorry, now you have to work the farm alone. What bad luck!”
Again the father replied: “Good, bad luck, too early to tell.”
A few days later the Civil War broke out and all the able-bodied young men were sent off to war. The farmer’s son, with a broken leg, had to stay at home.
After the leg was cured, his father had the only farm around with a son to help and seven horses to shoe. They worked the farm and they prospered.
Good luck, bad luck. It’s too early to tell.
Good luck, bad luck. It’s all how you look at it.
Good luck, bad luck. It depends on which one you choose and what you do with it.
Bingo. Completely. Now you got it!
At each level of “bad luck” the farmer could be ignored, which could have stopped the farmer and his son from taking advantage of the “good luck” they had to.
In this story, there are at least three principles of success that allowed the farmer and his son to succeed. Let’s take a look:
Response vs response
At each turn of events, the son responded. Reacting usually means not thinking things through, acting without enough information to make a good decision. The farmer, on the other hand, responded to each event using his brain and the power of vision. This allowed him to be “responsible, able to respond” to the events, both good and bad, that happened.
The son’s opinion was “things happen to us, and there is nothing we can do about it.” The farmer’s opinion was “things happen, and then we make them happen. It’s what we do with what happens that makes the difference.”
We all have “filters” in our thinking that determine how we see the world.
For the son, he divided events into two categories, “this is good for us or bad for us.” He had what I call a “problem filter”, seeing only the bad in events, and how it affected him.
The father, on the other hand, had different filters. There were what I call “solution filters.” Regardless of the events, he knew that there could be a solution in both “good luck and bad luck.”
It’s like the character Qui-Gon Jinn, played by Liam Neeson, says in the recent Star Wars installment when one solution doesn’t work: “…another solution presents itself. ” Now that’s a solution filter!
Although they may not be runaway horses, broken legs and Civil Wars, we all have events in our lives that can make or break us. When we bring the tools of response, insight, and resolution filters to these events, we have a much better chance of making them work for us and succeed as a result.
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