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Your Problem Isn’t The Problem

In a remote village in China hundreds of years ago there lived a wise farmer and his son. The wise farmer was respected in the village and also admired, for he owned a beautiful stallion.

One day, the stallion ran away. The villagers flocked to the old farmer’s home and offered sympathies over the farmer’s loss.

“Oh poor farmer, you must be so sad to have lost your most valuable possession.”
“What a terrible thing to have lost your stallion.”
“What ever will you do?” And so on…

The wise farmer responded, “Indeed, my stallion is missing. This is interesting.”

Weeks passed and still no stallion. Finally, one day, the stallion returned! With it, he brought a beautiful wild mare. The villagers rejoiced.

“What good fortune! You not only have your stallion back but a wonderful mare as well! How lucky you are!”

The wise farmer quietly responded, “Indeed, this is interesting.”

The farmer’s son was quite excited about the arrival of the new wild mare and saw it as an opportunity to tame her. The farmer agreed. The time came to try and ride the mare. When the son did, the mare bucked and threw him, breaking his leg. The villagers soon heard of the latest turn of events and came running to the farmer’s home.

“Oh what bad luck!” they agreed.

“This is so unfortunate. What will happen if your son cannot work the fields?!”

The wise farmer was his calm self. “This is interesting,” he quietly repeated as he began to prepare for the journey to the doctor, days’ travel away. Soon after, much to the dismay the villagers, the Chinese army came to town looking to take able-bodied young men to fight the latest bloody war. The farmer’s son was passed over of course, left to heal from his (relatively) minor wound.

“Interesting,” thought the farmer.

Coaching Fieldwork:

Life is a never-ending series of events. What you may not have considered is that each event is just that, an event – something happens. Yet, as humans we unconsciously and automatically interpret that event and ADD meaning TO what happened. In essence, we create a story about it. Based on the responses of the villagers above, some may have thought:

“Without the stallion, he won’t have much fortune left (and will live much poorer).”

“With the stallion AND the mare, he’ll be twice as rich (and will live more fully).”

“He won’t have the man-power to work the fields without his son (and will lose some portion of his crop…and be much poorer).”

These “stories” create problems, and lots of them. In fact, more often than not, it’s the story of what happened that’s the real problem.

Look at your life right now. Is there a situation where you’re stuck or resisting action? Big or small, it doesn’t matter. Here are some examples to get the brain started:

1. Making a request of someone

2. Purchasing something or not

3. Proposing a new idea

4. Making a change

Ask yourself, what “stories” have you created about the situation that are holding you back? What meaning have you added to the situation unknowingly? What is it you “know” will happen if you take action? Make your list and put it aside. In the next issue, I’ll show you how to disarm those stories. Stay tuned!

Jamie Broughton