How to embrace uncertainty

The meaning of life - Alan Watts. Photo by

The only thing certain in life is uncertainty.

In the past, I would have said that’s the cold, harsh truth.  But now, I know it’s the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

There’s something very powerful about embracing uncertainty.  It quite literally means that you accept that anything can happen, and that anything is possible.

It’s all a matter of perspective.  The following Chinese parable is the best Coles Notes / For Dummies on embracing uncertainty I have ever seen.   There’s also a video version below narrated by Alan Watts, human analyst, zen guru and speaker.

The Chinese Farmer

“Once upon a time there was a Chinese farmer whose horse ran away. All the neighbors came around to commemorate that evening, “So sorry that your horse has run away, that’s too bad.” and he said, “Maybe.”

The next day the horse came back, bringing seven wild horses with it. Everyone came around in the evening and said, “Oh isn’t that lucky, what a great turn of events, you’ve now got eight horses.” and he said, “Maybe.”

The next day his son tried to break one of the horses and ride it, but was thrown and ended up breaking his leg. They all said, “Oh dear that’s too bad.” and he said, “Maybe.”

The following day the conscription officers came around to recruit, or to force people into the army but they rejected his son because he had a broken leg. All the people came around and said, “That’s great.” and he said, “Maybe.”

Can you picture yourself being this zen in the same situations?

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