Being fixated on an outcome is often applauded in our culture. We call it tenacity, being strong, being focused or maybe driven. When things don’t go according to plan, we can blame ourselves. We may say that we weren’t clear enough in our intention, didn’t work hard enough, or weren’t in alignment with our desire.
Be flexible. It could just be that life had other plans. Here’s a Taoist story to illustrate what I mean.
There once was an old farmer and his son who had worked his crops for many years. One day the horse her relied upon to work the farm ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “Maybe,” the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it several other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “Maybe,” the old man said.
The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses. He was thrown to the ground and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune saying, “What terrible luck.” “Maybe,” answered the farmer.
Soon after, military officials came to the village to draft 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. “Maybe,” said the farmer.
This could mean that while you live with intention and set goals, you don’t force an outcome. Maybe having a handicapped child opens your heart in a million ways that you didn’t dream possible. It could be that your car breaking down leads you to meet the love of your life. Maybe losing the love of your life leads to you loving yourself for the first time.
What something surprising or unexpected happens, be curious. Be flexible. Let life surprise you. When you trust that everything that happens is for your highest and best good, it will be.