I’m a skeptical person. Most people probably view being skeptical as a negative thing, but if instead, I called myself a curious person that seems to sit better with the glass-half-full crowd.
To further prove my point, my favorite ancient proverb . . . I’m rather skeptical about its authenticity of being ancient or a proverb at all. It reads more like a good story written to be a proverb around the 1970s.
Regardless, please enjoy!
“We’ll See” – An Ancient Chinese Proverb
Once upon a time, there was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years.
One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically, “You must be so sad.”
“We’ll see,” the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it two other wild horses.
“How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed! “Not only did your horse return, but you received two more. What great fortune you have!”
“We’ll see,” answered the farmer.
The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “Now your son cannot help you with your farming,” they said. “What terrible luck you have!”
“We’ll see,” replied the old farmer.
The following week, military officials came to the village to conscript young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “Such great news. You must be so happy!”
The man smiled to himself and said once again.
Questioning Blind Certainty
Like most great stories you can take away from it what you will. Some have said the point is not to get too excited and to keep to your task – in this case, farming – while things work themselves out. Others have other opinions, which I will save you from because they border on ignorant, and instead, I will focus on what this means to me because this is my blog post and clearly my opinion will be the most correct translation (or so I wish to believe).
To me, this story is about questioning blind certainty.
I thought of this while reading the comments section from a news article. If you have made this mistake before, you will know all too well where I am going with this.
Pages. And pages of comments on a story. There was more written in the commentary of the article than in the actual article itself. Every single one of those comments stood atop their soapbox and proudly proclaimed their viewpoint.
The article: “Toys R Us is going to try to revive the brand.”
From what I can tell, none of these were people directly affected by the bankruptcy. There were multiple conspiracy theorists thinking, “Sure. Now that they’ve shed all of the dead properties, older staff, and inventory that wouldn’t move . . . they realize that they can save it.”
Yeah, that’s kind of how business works.
If you’ve got cash flow issues, you need to A) cut expenses, B) increase revenue, or C) both.
So here are all of these people, very heated over a company that sells toys.
And then there’s me. Sipping my morning coffee, pontificating, “hmmm… I wonder how this will turn out.. we’ll see.”
Then as I was patting myself on the back for being so open-minded, “OH SHIT! There’s that story I love and have been meaning to work into a blog post. I should do that.”
And here we are. You got the point 5 minutes ago, and here I am still rambling . . . so let’s wrap this up.
I hope that everyone will question things that they believe to be absolutely certain of. Take a moment. Take a deep breath.
Get curious. +Richard Kaiser