Look closer at your disappointments, troubles and crises—they may be blessings in disguise
China is a populous country with 5000 years of history. There are many folktales with great lessons that all of us could adopt into our lives.
One simple folktale , I titled it as ‘ blessing in disguise” goes this way.
Near the border of the frontier lived a rich merchant and his son. One of his horses strayed into the land of the Xiongnu tribe which is their nemesis. The rich merchant’s supporters consoled him but he calmly said, “why should I worry and hastily conclude that this is unfortunate?” He did not let this incident affect his business in any way.
Indeed , after several months, the horse being his lead horse came back with another fine horse from the land of the Xiongnu tribe. He had gained an excellent horse. The old man’s supporters were jubilant and they congratulated him. But the old man again calmly proclaimed , “Why should I be overjoyed and hastily conclude that this may be fortunate.?” He accepted this blessing with alot of grace.
The merchant’s family had a wealth of fine horses and his son loved riding them. But one day, his son fell off the horse and broke his leg. There was panic and the merchant’s men ran to him with the bad news.
Instead, the boy’s father calmly replied, “ why should I panic excessively and hastily conclude that this is unfortunate?” The merchant ensured that the son received the best possible treatment and leave it at that. He wasted no time to indulge in sorrow or regret.
It so happened that not long after, the Xiongnu tribe invaded the frontier. The government of the province sent an order that all able- bodied men had to go to war. When they came to the old merchant’s house, they saw that his son was injured and so he was not picked to join the war. In the war, many men perished . The old man’s son was spared because of his injury which turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
This story implies that it is difficult to tell the twists and turns of life. Misfortune can follow fortune and vice versa, it is difficult to predict. In any case, do not be overwhelmed.
What seems to us bitter trials are often blessings in disguise– —– Oscar Wilde
I like to cite some instances where I have tried to exercise some state of calmness and benefited in other ways unexpectedly.
I remember losing my way in the outskirts of Japan during a trip and felt quite bad for my friend. However, I convinced myself that that might not be a bad thing. I told my friend, “ Hey, since this is a new location and is not on the tourist radar, let us explore this place. We may find some surprises”. Indeed, we did. We ended up seeing some beautiful out of the beaten path places, interacting with the locals who were quite curious with us as there were few tourists around and sampled some of the best meals.
In another instance, at the place where I worked, a very experienced Oral surgeon set up his practice with his team of dentists. Though I cannot match him as a general practitioner in surgery skill and experience, I did not think this is a bad thing that his practice is near mine.
I was not overly worried about competition. At an opportune time, I approached the surgeon to get acquainted and found that he is a very knowledgeable and magnanimous guy who does not hesitate to share his wealth of experience. Subsequently, we co-managed on many cases and in the process I learnt a lot from him for which I am grateful.” Had I been extremely upset, I might not have thought of what to do. That would have led to bad vibes and I would not made a valuable friend of him.
There is also the incident about the story of the extremely happy groom that he drank himself into a stupor and made a nuisance of himself turning the happy occasion into an unhappy one. He was very upset with himself. Had he reined in his emotions, he would not have lost his self control and created such a ruckus. It proved to be positive for him anyway as his wife stood by him despite the embarrassing episode proving her ardent love for him.
Indeed, the media has plenty of stories of people who allow themselves to be overcome by their emotions- the road rage incident, the jealous killer, the arrogant colleague who thinks so highly of himself that he is not able to absorb ideas from others….
My point is:-
Whatever happens, it is paramount to have a calm frame of mind. Not to be excessively emotional but exhibit temperance. Neither being overly jubilant , extremely angry nor unduly distressed improves the situation.
I think of two positive ways to handle the vicissitudes of life:
1 Be consciously calm to handle matters as it confronts you. Whether good or bad , do not be thrown off your balance and lose your sanity. Basically maintain temperance in your daily life.
As the saying goes, “ What happens before you is not as important as what is happening in you”
2 Understand that in any issue there are two sides to the coin. As you suffer a loss, there is always a gain of sorts. It is a matter of perspective. So, remain positive.
Someone says that calmness of the mind is one of the jewels of wisdom. We must keep calm and sanguine in our daily lives. When happy or sad , never be extreme, as it clouds your vision and decision. Stay positive and soldier on whatever the consequences.