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I was recently reminded of the following story:

Once upon a time, an old farmer lived in a valley with his son, a handsome and dutiful youth. They lived a peaceful life despite a lack of material possessions. They were very happy. So much so, that neighbours wanted to understand the secret of their happiness.

One day, the old man used all his savings to buy a young, beautiful horse. The very same day he bought it, the horse jumped the fence and escaped into the hills. The neighbours came to express their concern, “Oh, that’s too bad. How are you going to work the fields now?”

The farmer replied, “Good thing? Bad thing? Who knows?”

A few days later, his horse came back from the hills and brought eight strong horses with him. The neighbours again gathered around, “Oh, how lucky! Now you are truly wealthy!” they said.

The farmer replied, “Good thing? Bad thing? Who knows?”

The next day, the farmer’s son fell off one of the new horses and broke his leg. “Such misfortune,” said the neighbours. The leg healed crookedly and the son was with a permanent limp and terrible pain. The neighbours were concerned again, “Now that he is incapable, he can’t help you here, that’s too bad.”

The farmer replied, “Good thing? Bad thing? Who knows?”

Soon, the news came that war has broken out, and all the young men were required to join the army. The villagers were sad because they knew that many of the young men would not come back. The farmer’s son could not be drafted because of his broken leg. His neighbours were envious: “How lucky! You get to keep your only son!”

The farmer replied, “Good thing? Bad thing? Who knows?”

And so the story goes on…

Yesterday I was reading an article about Al Gore. (This is NOT a political commentary.)

The article states that Gore was “devastated from the loss” of the Electoral College vote in the U.S. 2000 presidential election. The article then goes on to quote CNN Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin

who said, “what he did was become the leading global spokesman for perhaps the most important scientific and environmental cause of our lifetime, and he won a Nobel Prize I the bargain.”

Details aside, Gore moved on from perhaps the biggest loss of his career and reinvented himself as an expert in a totally different field. At the time, the loss was the “Bad Thing”, the reinvention was the “Good Thing”, but “Who Knew”.

How do you handle what appears to be a terrible outcome, or an outcome that seems to be incredible good fortune? Can you say “It is what it is, what’s next?” or do you stay in the moment and allow your life to stop right there?

Life doesn’t stop right there, we know that – so it becomes really important that you handle events for what they are: moments in time and move forward to your next great adventure.

OR… as my tagline says, be in the driver’s seat!