Once there was an older man living in the northern border of China. He owned a couple of horses but one day, one of them became lost. His neighbors all felt sorry about this bad news and comforted him for his loss.
However, this old man didn’t feel sad as everyone expected, in fact he said, “It is not necessarily a misfortune. Instead it may be taken for something good in the near future.”
Several months later, the lost horse came home along with another fine horse from the northern tribes. The neighbors congratulated him, but the old man didn’t thrill at all but rather said, “Why couldn’t this be a cause of misfortune?”
Unlike him, his son felt excited about this new horse and rode it almost every day.
Unfortunately, he fell off this horse by accident one day and severely broke one of his legs. People all around came to console the father, but he repeated what he had said when he lost his horse the first time–that all this may be a good thing in the future.
One year later, northern tribes invaded the frontier and a lot of young men served as soldiers fighting against the invaders. In the end, among those men, nine out of ten were sacrificed in the war. Because of the broken leg, the old man’s son wasn’t enrolled in the army, and his life was spared.
This story tells us that sometimes at the beginning, it is difficult to tell whether or not something is truly bad for us. Though it looks bad, it can become a blessing later and vise versa. You can find a plenty of similar experiences in your life actually. Last summer, I felt frustrated at the beginning because I didn’t get an internship opportunity. However, it turned out to be a good thing for me since I was able to focus on my own research and worked on my project more efficiently, unlike previous semesters when I had to spend a considerable amount of time on my teaching assignment. It is similar to the English idiom, “Every cloud has a silver lining.”