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A Story With No Ending

luck is an attitudeAn ancient Chinese parable …

One night an old man’s only horse went missing. The next day everyone told the old man how sorry they were. “But how do you know this is ill fortune?”, the old man asked.

Soon after, the horse returned, bringing with him a magnificent wild stallion. Everyone told the old man how happy they were for him. The old man smiled and asked, “But how do you know this is good fortune?”

The old man’s son tried to ride the stallion, fell off, and crippled himself. The neighbors decried his misfortune. “How do you know it’s bad luck?”, asked the old man.  

Less than a week later, a warlord came through the area conscripting all able bodied men into his army. All but a few would be killed. The old man’s son was left behind. Everyone rejoiced. And the old man said … “How do you know this is good luck?”


The story never ends, does it? We can’t see the future. What we just “know” is true good fortune today may not seem like such good luck tomorrow. What we’re sure is a tragedy that’s befallen us may soon seem more like a blessing in disguise. And will that blessing stay a blessing forever? Well, let’s just say ya never know.

We all have expectations. And I don’t care who you are, when things don’t turn out the way you wanted them to, it’s natural to be disappointed.

Look at all the people who took a major hit on their investments in 2008 … maybe right on top of seeing the price of their house drop precipitously. Such bad fortune. Something like that could color your whole outlook on the world and really influence the quality of your life.

And yet, they’re just circumstances. First of all, circumstances change constantly. Second, in the long run, what really matters isn’t what’s happened. It’s the way you look at what’s happened.

A friend of mine once asked his wise uncle the most important thing he’d learned in his life. The simple reply?

“The importance of perspective.”

Yes! But let me ask you this. Does that mean you shouldn’t celebrate the “good” things that happen to you, because you never know how things will turn out, as the old man’s reactions in the parable imply?   I don’t think so.

I say make up your own rules. Here are mine.

First of all, create your own circumstances by using the power of attraction. Ask for what you want, expect it to be given, and allow it to arrive.

Next, love what you get, even if it isn’t exactly what you thought you wanted or if what you’ve asked for hasn’t come just yet. Love what you have right now … today … while you envision a picture perfect tomorrow.

And finally, since you get to choose how you look at things, always adopt the perspective that allows you to feel good about yourself, your life, and the world. Celebrate the wins. When things go right, say, “Everything always works out for me.” When things go wrong, brush those circumstances aside as temporary and say, “It’s okay. Everything always works out for me.”

There’s no downside to doing this, and it’ll make you a happier person.

So, here’s how I’d react if I were the old man in the story. Horse gone. Bummer, but you never know. After all, things have always worked out for me. New horse. Fantastic! Like I said, things always work out for me. Kid breaks his leg. Quite a shock, but who am I to complain? It wasn’t MY leg and look, I have two horses where I had only one before. And I think we’re working up to something really good. Kid doesn’t get drafted. Woohoo! See, I told you. I am so golden. What are the odds?

Okay, I’m having some fun. But honestly, as long as the “story” can be this good and enjoyed this much, why would you ever want it to end?


Meet Denise: Denise Hedges is a Business Development Coach and Speaker Coach for small business owners who want to be more comfortable, confident, and successful with their sales and marketing efforts. She specializes in helping them use speaking as a way to dramatically improve their results!