You might have come across this story some where. Reproducing from internet.
There lived a poor farmer who had to work very hard to feed his family. He had no time for leisure or relaxation.
But despite his difficult life, the farmer was a very happy man. He was content with what he had, and he appreciated every moment of his life.
“One day, the farmer’s only horse ran away. When his neighbors heard about it, they came to console him, “That’s terrible! What bad luck!”
But the farmer replied, “Who knows if it is good luck or bad luck? We will have to wait and see.”
A few days later, the horse returned to the farm, bringing with him a wild herd of horses.
Now the farmer had more horses than he knew what to do with.
His neighbors were amazed and said, “What great luck you have!”
Yet again, the farmer calmly replied, “Who knows if this is good luck or bad luck? We will have to wait and see.”
A few weeks later, the farmer’s son was riding one of the new horses, and he fell off, breaking his leg.
Again, the farmer’s neighbors came to mourn and said, “What bad luck you have!”
Once again, the farmer replied, “Who knows if it is good luck or bad luck? We will have to wait and see.”
After a few days, soldiers came to the village to recruit for the army for the ongoing war. They took all of the able-bodied young men, but they didn’t choose him since the farmer’s son had a broken leg.
The farmer’s neighbors said to him, “What great luck you have!”
In his zen attitude, the farmer replied, “Who knows if it is good luck or bad luck? We will have to wait and see.”
Last week I had tweeted this:
U have gone to ur bank after many years. There are 50 more people in the bank. Robbers enter and fire. U r the only one hit with a bullet in ur arm. Injured but survive. Would u consider urself lucky or unlucky?
Some very interesting responses to the tweet. Even though the responses differ dramatically. Every brain does the same thing. It creates a counter fact. A counterfact is an alternate scenario our brains create to help us evaluate and make sense of what really happened. Some people think themselves unlucky and some lucky. Both the counterfacts are completely hypothetical. Because it’s invented, we actually have the power in any given situation to consciously select a counterfact that makes us feel fortunate rather than helpless. And choosing a positive counterfact, besides simply making us feel better, sets ourselves up for the whole host of benefits to motivation and performance we now know accompanies a positive mindset. When we choose a counterfact that makes us feel worse, we are actually altering our reality, allowing the obstacle to exert far greater influence over us than it otherwise should.
I have had so many incidences in life where I was in deep shit and pain and asked God, “Why me?” And every time the painful event has ended up in something better. I am sharing one such incidence in this newsletter. Every accident turned into a blessing in disguise. Lookback in your life and you will find many similar incidences.
So the next time something good or bad happens to you, don’t worry about whether it’s luck or not. Just enjoy the moment and be grateful for what you have.
Because in the end, that’s all that matters. Everything happens for a reason. In retrospect, the reason is always good.
In an earlier issue of Good Vibes I had done a toolkit for managing Stress. You may check that out
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18th June, 2001, Troy, MI, USA
I got a call from dad as I stepped out of the headquarters of Oxford Automotive Inc. I got worried as it was an odd time for him to call- it was way past midnight in India. He sounded nervous and said mom was unwell and that I should return by first available flight. I had numerous meetings lined up during the balance six days of my business trip to US. I called up KLM and rescheduled my return flight to home in India the same night.
Oxford Automotive at that time was amongst the largest OEM manufacturer of auto components. The company was vendor to all major automobile companies like General Motors, Ford, DiamlerChrysler, Isuzu, Nissan etc. and had an annual turnover exceeding a billion US dollars and a workforce of nearly 7000. It had 41 factories across Canada, Europe, South America and Asia-Pacific region. After months of meetings and negotiations, we had decided to set up a factory in India in 50-50 equity joint venture. It was to be their first foray in India. Plant, machinery and technology were to come from Oxford. We were a small company of only 40 people. This was a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity for us and would’ve pushed us into the big league of auto component manufacturing. It also meant huge investments from us to match the 50% share. I will have put on stake nearly all the wealth and assets that me and my family owned and maybe more. I had just signed the Memorandum of Understanding and the new company formation documents when the fateful call from dad came. All my excitement and happiness of bagging the deal vanished and my mood turned grim and nervous.
Dad and wife were there to pick me up from Delhi airport. On way home, they told me about mom’s condition. She had been detected with Breast cancer which was in an advanced stage. Cancer, even today is a dreadful disease. Imagine how painful and fearful I must’ve felt 19 years ago. When I reached home, I hugged my mom and started crying. She was just 51. Next two weeks passed by consulting doctors, specialists and getting various tests and investigations done. My usual question to all the doctors I met was ‘how long she had’. The most optimistic answer I got was one year max.
As her treatment started, I sent email to Oxford explaining the situation I was in. I told them that I would not be able to work on the project during the treatment of my mother. The project will have to be postponed till my mother gets well which I estimated to be one year. Meanwhile, if they want they could go ahead with the project with a new partner. Oxford, very graciously, agreed to wait.
Fast forward to June 2002. Mom had her surgery, chemo and radiations and was convalescing well. Meanwhile September 11 happened in New York plunging the US economy into despair. Oxford Automotive filed for Chapter 11 and became bankrupt.
Just a year ago, the events of June 2001 were so stressful and painful for me. Every moment I would ask God- why me? My mom was in her last stages of life and the best opportunity of my career growth had to be put on hold. Those were the most depressing times of my life. And now, when I look back at those events, I realize that this was probably God’s way of stopping me to put up the venture with Oxford. If I had gone ahead with the project, I would probably have lost everything and become bankrupt. From that moment onwards I became a firm believer of what why Grandfather always used to say जो होता है सब अच्छे के लिए होता है.( Whatever happens, happens for good).
Life is full of many different types of negative situations and twists and turns, which keep us unsettled and stressed at times. Stress is primarily caused by too many whys, whats, whens and hows, which are questions in our minds. The effect of thoughts on our physical health is well established. A large number of diseases today are psychosomatic, which means persistent negative emotions like stress, anger, hurt, mistrust, manifest in the form of disease. Focus on happiness, forgiveness, acceptance, trust. As you will increase your inner strength and faith, you will become stable, peaceful and happy.
Accept a higher power. You may or may not believe in God. But still, you have to believe in something. You just have to. Something bigger than us. Something bigger than we can even comprehend. There is an anchor in our life called Faith. You will realize, you have so little control over most of the things happening around you or to you. You only control how you react to the situation. You have to believe that there is a deeper purpose behind your suffering. The point of this belief is some ways to override the mind. This technique changes our attitudes and feelings, which influences positively the situation as well as how others respond.
At this point in life I have more or less learned to manage stress. I never bring work issues to home. I exercise often, rest enough and eat clean. I never let my stress accumulate. If your stress accumulates it will lead to anxiety, lack of motivation, depression, fatigue. Stress reduction is a must for a healthy you. Prefer to choose Trust over doubt, co-operation over competition, appreciation over criticism, health over disease. Spend some time on meditation. Detoxification of the mind begins the process of detoxification of the body. Be relaxed throughout the day in your every interaction. Whenever stress levels increase, focus on your breathing. With each breath, remain mindful, ease your state of mind. Think of a strength with each inhalation, think of a weakness in yourself with each exhalation. Inhale peace, exhale stress, inhale faith, exhale fear. Avoid auto pilot reactions. You will swim across the tough and painful times easily. Trust me, You will relatively remain calm, relaxed and stress Free. And this is the first step to lead a Fit life.
The amazing tennis final at the French open championship. And Nadal is the King. Like most of us he follows some bizarre rituals during his game and most interesting I find is how he arranges his water bottles. Rafa always has to organize his water bottles very, very carefully. He makes sure that the brand name of both are facing the court he is about to play on at every change. Check this out
Podcast that really changed my way of thinking about the way to look at Life setbacks. Rangan Chatterjee in conversation with Mo Gowdat. Listening to Mo’s account is incredibly emotional, yet he’s so full of love, truth and gratitude. How sudden and tragic death of his son at the age of 21 set him on a path to make a billion people happier.
When I look back at my life, the only thing that I find common in all the things I have been successful at the end is consistency. Being consistent is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to become. Came across this well put article by Anthony Moore – Consistency Beats Talent, Luck, Good Intentions, and Even Quality. The only thing common between all successful men and women is persistence.
Loved reading this quote by Hellen Keller,
“The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves.”
Cheerfulness keeps up the spirit of the one who possesses it, and brings a smile to the lips of others. Cheerfulness becomes like a magnet of goodwill. You bring yourself happiness by bringing smile on others face.
When you keep waiting for the perfect day to start loving yourself.