Losing is Good — part 2 (The Financial Athlete #137)

We’ll See (a Taoist story)

An old farmer cherished his horse. One day the horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors said with empathy, “What bad luck.”

The old farmer remained calm and said, “We’ll see.”

Remarkably, the horse returned the next morning with three, beautiful wild horses. The neighbors rejoiced. “What good luck!”

The old farmer kept calm and said, “We’ll see.”

The following day, his son rode one of the untamed horses. He fell off the horse and broke his leg. The neighbors offered sympathy and again said, “What bad luck.”

The old farmer was not convinced this was a misfortune. He replied, “We’ll see.”

A few days later, officials drafted into the military all young men of the village except his son because he had a broken leg. The neighbors congratulated the farmer for his good fortune. “What good luck!” they said.

“We’ll see”, said the farmer.


When you lose, you ask yourself, “What went wrong?” You ponder this for a long while, arrive at conclusions, and hopefully learn from your mistakes. The experience of losing, then, should be simultaneously “good” and “bad”. But must personal growth be born of pain? Is only losing a teacher and winning never a teacher? The last question is misplaced on the prime mover. Neither losing nor winning is the teacher. You are the teacher.

When you win, ask yourself, “What went right?” Ponder this for a long while, arrive at conclusions, and you will experience greater consistency of positive results. Without realization, winning is also simultaneously “good’ and “bad”.


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