We all have a tendency to judge and label outcomes as good or bad. We fear, avoid and complain about the bad. We desire and pursue the good. But is good always good and bad always bad?
A Chinese folk tale tells of a farmer who used an old horse to till his fields. One day, the horse escaped into the hills and when the farmer’s neighbours came to comfort him on his bad luck, the farmer said, “Bad or good, it is what it is.” A week later, the old horse returned with a herd of horses from the hills and this time the neighbours congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was, “Good or bad, it is what it is.” A few days later, as the farmer’s son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off and broke his leg. This time everyone spoke of the farmer’s bad luck. The farmer said, “Bad or good, it is what it is.” Some weeks later, the army marched into the village and conscripted every young man except the farmer’s son because of his broken leg. Now the neighbours spoke of the good luck of the farmer who replied, “Good or bad, it is what it is.”