A boy was born into a family in an agrarian Tibetan village. To earn a living, residents either tended the fields or tended the herd, but the boy was born with a cleft foot. The villagers gathered around his family’s yurt and said, “What a curse on your family that the boy is going to be a drain on your resources. He’ll never earn a living.”
But the wise man of the village happened by and said, “We shall see, we shall see.”
Literacy levels in the area were very low and the wise man was the only villager who could read and write. So, to communicate with other villages, people would pay the wise man to write a letter on their behalf, or to read a letter they had received.
Since the young boy could not go and play with the other children, the wise man took him on as an apprentice and by the age of seven he was able to both read and write. This enabled him to earn a better living than he would have done by working in the fields.
The villagers gathered around his family’s yurt and proclaimed, “What a blessing on your family that the boy is able to make such a fine living at such a young age!”
And the wise man came along and said, “We shall see, we shall see.”
Some years passed and the boy was now 12. He had finally made some friends his own age, who were going to go horseback riding and he pleaded with his mother to be allowed to join them. She worried that he had no experience and would get hurt, but she finally acquiesced to his pleas.
While trying to keep up with his friends, who were capable riders, the boy fell and broke his writing arm. The villagers gathered around and said, “What a curse on your family that you are now without your income for some time.”
The wise man who, had come to check on his protégé, said, “We shall see, we shall see.”
Days later, the warlord of the region came through to press gang every able-bodied young man aged 12 and older to go off and fight the war. But, because he could not march and he could not write, the boy would simply be a drain on the military and was left behind. As the other boys of the village went off to fight, possibly to die, the villagers gathered around his yurt and said, with much weeping for their sons, “What a blessing that you’ve been spared!”.
The wise man said, “We shall see, we shall see.”
Without the benefit of hindsight, it is not possible to know if a given moment is a blessing or curse.
Is being fired from a job the catalyst to launch the entrepreneur? Will the heartache of break up be the turning point that leads to the enduring love of a lifetime?
We must learn from each experience, be true to ourselves and not believe the headlines (either good or bad). The headlines are often far more extreme than reality and our reality is based on how we choose to view the moment. How we choose to view the moment may vary wildly, given time and the opportunity of gaining perspective.