How can you apply this old Chinese legend to your life?

As I was cleaning out my office this week, I came upon a copy of this Chinese legend.  It is a story that I have re-told in countless workshop sessions over the years.  How can you apply this legend to your life?

This is the story of a wise old man.  He was considered to be an odd sort of fellow because of the way he had of looking at things.  One time one of his horses ran away.  His friends rallied around to console him.  “That’s too bad,” they said.  “We are sorry for you.”

“How do you know it is bad?” the old man asked them.

A few days later, the horse returned.  He had two wild horses with him.  This brought the neighbors on the run.  “Good, good!” they said, rejoicing with him.

“How do you know it is good?” the old man asked them.

They could not answer that one either.  So they said no more.

In training the two wild horses, the man’s son was thrown and his leg was broken.  Again the neighbors came to commiserate with him.  “Of that’s too bad,” they said.  “We sympathize with you I your misfortune.”

“How do you know that this is bad”, the old man said again.

The very next day a war lord and his army came through the land conscripting all able bodied young men to fight for them.  But not the son of the old man.  He was not able bodied.

Moral:  There is neither good, nor bad but thinking that makes it so.