There was a wise old man that lived in a village. Everyone trusted him with answers to their questions and concerns. One day a farmer came to the wise man in a panic. He said that his ox had just died and that he doesn’t have any animals to help plant his field. He said, “Isn’t this the worse that could possibly have happened?” The wise old man simply replied, “Maybe so, maybe not.” The man ran back to his village telling everyone the wise old man had gone mad because he couldn’t see that this was surely the worse thing that could happen.
The next day, the farmer saw this wild horse near his farm. It was young and strong, so the man got the idea to catch the horse to help plow his fields. And that is what he did. Now, plowing his field had never been easier. He went back to the wise old man to apologize and tell him of his good fortune catching the horse. He asked the wise old man that if he agreed this was surely the best thing that could happen. The wise old man simply said, “Maybe so, maybe not.” The farmer thought the wise old man had surely gone mad now.
A few days later, the farmer’s son was riding the horse and was bucked off, crashing to the ground, breaking his leg. The farmer’s son would not be able to help with the crop. Not having his son’s help, the farmer thought that they surely would starve to death. So the farmer went to see the wise old man, and asked how he knew that catching the horse would not be a good thing. The farmer said that without his son’s help, he would not be able to farm his crop. The farmer said to the wise old man, “This time I’m sure this is the worst thing that could possibly have happened. You must agree this time.” In a very compassionate voice, the wise old man said, “Maybe so, maybe not.” The farmer was enraged. He stormed back to the village.
The very next day, a war had broken out. Troops arrived at the farmer’s farm to take every able-bodied man off to war. Having broken his leg, the farmer’s son would not be able to go. He would not have to risk his life in a war where many others were sure to die.
We never know what is going to happen in our lives. We may think the worst thing has just happened to us, but it may be a blessing in disguise. We tend to make situations worse by thinking the very worse. We put ourselves through all sorts of stress as we imagine the worse case scenarios and lose sleep wondering how we will make it through. Most of the time, the worse case scenarios never happen, yet we stress ourselves over them. Instead, we need to keep an open mind.
In every setback or challenge, there is opportunity. Keep an open mind and lean into anything that comes your way. Make the best of every scenario and you will come out on top. When faced with a problem or challenge that you believe is just the worse, remember, “Maybe not, maybe so.”