It’s tempting to label events in our lives as either good or bad. It keeps things simple. Avoid the bad, increase the good.
A missed opportunity, for example, is “bad” and a promotion is “good.” In many cases these value judgements are sound evaluations.
However, the idea that an event carries some objective value misses a key point. Our interpretations are individual, influenced of our experiences, biases, and preconceptions.
Different interpretations of an event explain why a child might joyfully craft snow angels in the same blizzard that ruins the daily commute for others.
Shakespeare famously said, “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” This idea is portrayed in the parable of the Chinese Farmer.
Soren Kierkegaard once said, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
Labeling an event as “bad” limits the positive effects that the event could have. Labeling an event as “good” blinds you to any of the events imperfections.
The next time that you “miss an opportunity” consider the Chinese Farmer.