Change the default setting

Two centuries ago, there was an old man with his wife that lived in a small village. They had two things they heavily relied on to survive: their son and their horse.

One day, the horse runs off. The people of the village gather around to console the family, “Oh my! How can this happen? What terrible luck!”

The old man looks at the group and gently replies, “Maybe yes. Maybe no.”

The next day, their stallion returns with a mare. He had been out looking for a mate. The villagers and the wife come together but this time to rejoice, “This is unbelievable. What good fortune.”

The old man again says, “Maybe yes. Maybe no.”

The next day, the son begins to train their new wild horse. In the process, the son falls off the horse and shatters his leg. The village was shocked.

But again the old man, trying to get through to the village says, “Maybe yes. Maybe no.”

The next day, the army comes through the village and recruits all of the able body young men for war. And, of course, the young man can’t fight with his leg.

(This story can continue on forever.)

Maybe yes. Maybe no.

We all have a default setting. The highs are as high as the sky and the lows can sink us down to depths of the sea.

Sometimes things will go wrong. Not everything is going to be perfect. And not everything is always going to be fine—no matter how much time we spend trying to make everything okay.

But all things will work for our experience. Those experiences will work for our benefit.

If we can just remember the old man, we can develop a new posture, one where we can welcome failure. We can skip self-pity. We can skip the labeling that were not good enough. We can skip the blame and shame.

Instead, we can be more kind to ourselves. We can be more kind to each other.

And if we can remember that we belong here we don’t have to tie our self-worth to our outcomes. Everyone of us has infinite potential and infinite worth. We don’t have to let extenuating circumstances dictate what kind of person we are going to be.

It’s great by choice.

We don’t have to wait for the world to act on us to do something about it.