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It’s all in the attitude

A lawyer friend of mine recently lost her job (very unexpectedly and—in my view—quite unfairly): a job that she had really invested herself in and thoroughly enjoyed.  So I was extremely surprised (though equally impressed) when, rather than view her situation as horribly unfair, she chose to view it positively as an opportunity to recharge her batteries.  Her attitude reminded me of a story I once heard that demonstrates that any situation can be viewed as positive or negative, depending upon how we choose to see it…. And a negative situation can very quickly turn into a positive one.  

Here’s the story:  A farmer had a son and a horse.  One day the horse ran away. The neighbors came to console the farmer over his terrible loss. The farmer said, "What makes you think it is so terrible?”  A month later, the horse came home—this time bringing with her two beautiful wild horses. The neighbors were delighted at the farmer's good fortune. “You’re so lucky!” they said.  The farmer replied, "What makes you think this is good fortune?"  Then the next day the farmer's son was thrown from one of the wild horses and broke his leg so badly that he would have a limp forever.  The neighbors rushed to commiserate: “How unfortunate!”  The farmer replied, "What makes you think it’s so bad?"  Then war broke out, and every able-bodied man was conscripted and sent into battle. Only the farmer's son, because of his injured leg, remained behind.

The truth is that we can waste so much time thinking about our good fortune—or, more often, our bad luck.  We readily label situations good or bad, white or black.  But if we change our perspective, we can change the situation too.

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