Who knows what is good or bad?

At times, I find myself judging things around me. As I consistently identified as INTJ in the MBTI tests I took, this comes as no wonder for me. However, judging a situation can be a dimension in the MBTI preferences that I may want to work on, as I keep on re-discovering the wisdom of Taoism in my life. Let me explain with a quote from a Tao book.

When an old farmer’s stallion wins a prize at a country show, his neighbor calls round to congratulate him, but the old farmer says, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?” The next day some thieves come and steal his valuable animal. His neighbor comes to commiserate with him, but the old man replies, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?” A few days later the spirited stallion escapes from the thieves and joins a herd of wild mares, leading them back to the farm. The neighbor calls to share the farmer’s joy, but the farmer says, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?” The following day, while trying to break in one of the wild mares, the farmer’s son is thrown and fractures his leg. The neighbor calls to share the farmer’s sorrow, but the old man’s attitude remains the same as before. The following week the army passes by, forcibly conscripting soldiers for a war, but they do not take the farmer’s son because he cannot walk. The neighbor thinks to himself, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?” and realizes that the old farmer must be a Taoist sage. 

from the Tao Book and Card Pack by Timothy Freke

As the story tells, some things considered bad today may have another viewpoint tomorrow. When I judge a situation I take into consideration today’s state of affairs and how the world surrounds the situation. From a totally unaware origin, those same circumstances might suddenly change my today’s judgment.

This lesson is especially important in my coaching, and – to be honest – I am bad at this. Oftentimes I find myself jumping to conclusions – even in the previous sentence. Who knows what’s good or bad about my quick judgments? Sometimes maybe they help, and sometimes they don’t. It is what it is. In order to grow, I need to let go of thoughts that bring me down, or cheer me up and just enjoy the moment.

That’s one thing I wished I would be better at. But who knows what’s better or worse?

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