You may well have heard the old story about a peasant farmer who's only real possessions were a small plot of land and his old horse that worked the land. One day the horse disappeared and all the neighbours said how unlucky the man was. The man simply said 'we will see'. Not long after, the horse returned and brought a strong, beautiful, wild horse with it and all the neighbours told the man how fortunate he was. The man patiently replied, 'We will see.' One day the horse threw the man's son who broke his leg, and all the neighbours told the man how cursed he was to have ever found the horse. Again the man answered, 'We will see.' Soon after the son broke his leg, soldiers came to the village and took away all the able-bodied young men, but the son was spared. When the man's friends told him how lucky he was that his son had broken his leg, the man would only say, 'We will see.'
The story could go
The farmer may seem
far too laid-back, blasé and removed from the pressures
of modern life to be much of an example for us today. Surely he
was just a simple man lacking the education and sophistication
we have today.
Some of the worst things that can happen to any of us often turn out to be blessings in disguise. Sure, sometimes they can be extremely well disguised, at least at the time. However, in hindsight and over time, they often prove to be just what we really needed. I know this has often been the case in my life.
Sometimes we can be so preoccupied in feeling sorry for ourselves and staring at the door that has just closed, that we become blinkered and don't even notice the door (or doors) that just opened for us.
We all know the old saying that every cloud has a silver lining. In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill refers to this as 'the seed of equivalent benefit' that can be found it every setback we experience – if we look for it. Hill firmly believed this is one of the most important character traits of all successful people.
No doubt this can be sometimes easier said than done, but as with most things in life, our attitude is critical. You'll certainly be able to do this easier if you have an overall positive outlook to life.
Acceptance of circumstances and events is fundamental to happiness. However, this doesn't mean that you should be satisfied with your lot and just accept things as they are.
For example, the one of the most negative thing you can do is to say you hate your job, but decide it's the best you can do, and at least it pays ok, so you'll stick with it. In this or similar cases, you may be satisfied but you're not happy and you're certainly not grateful.
This is really complacency, or being stuck in a rut or a comfort zone. Or it could be called death rattle. Whatever you want to call it, it certainly not where you want to be.
Instead, you can be grateful that you have a job, decide that you can and will do better, and that you'll learn what you can from the job until you are ready to take your next step. With this attitude you can be dissatisfied but happy.
Being dissatisfied is also one of the greatest of all motivators. If you reach the point where you've had enough and decide that you're not going to put up with something any more, that will usually be a turning point in your life and when things really start to happen.
Dissatisfaction is also the starting point for all progress that mankind has made throughout history. To use a simple example, if our ancestors had been satisfied riding horses or bicycles, we wouldn't have trains, cars or any of the other forms of transport we have today.
This may all seem a long way removed from the attitude of our friend the farmer.
However, acceptance of circumstances and events is closely related to a number of other important and often overlooked factors that affect our success and happiness. Gratitude, forgiveness and acceptance of both other people and us can also have a dramatic impact.
You'll find a more detailed explanation of these concepts and inter-relationships, and how we can tune in to these powerful forces in 'The Astonishing Power of Gratitude' by Wes Hopper***
There is a well known quote by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr which I think is well worth remembering:
'God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change those things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.'
Personal development and self growth is an ongoing journey. Growing, learning and developing as people and building a better life are basic human needs. If we can accept the things we can't control, we'll be much happier and we'll have more strength to work towards the things that matter most to us where we can make a difference.
About The Author:
Garry Zancanaro is self improvement specialist and the creator of The Library of Super Success, a collection of the Best Success and Personal Development Resources available anywhere, which includes 'The Astonishing Power of Gratitude' by Wes Hopper.
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