Maybe: What’s Good or What’s Bad?

While I was listening to a guided meditation this morning on controlling your emotions to not be so quick to judge what may be “good” or “bad,” I was told a Zen parable about an old farmer. Take a read below:

There is a Taoist story of 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.

“Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.

“Maybe,” replied the old man.

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.

“Maybe,” answered the farmer.

The day 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 short parable shows us how nothing in life is ever static, so we must avoid to be so quick to judge anything as good or bad. Learn to accept things as they are, for something that you may consider “bad fortune” today might be a blessing in disguise tomorrow.

Advertisements

How To Spot Intelligent People

How to spot intelligent people:

They ask you questions.

When you answer, they ask you more.

When you start using big words, they ask for clarification.

When they can’t understand anything you’re saying, they ask you to explain it to them as if they were a five-year-old.

When you say something intriguing, they write it down in their notebook or phone.

These people are not naturally more intelligent.

They’re better learners which makes them more intelligent.

They’re genuinely curious and ask questions from a humble standpoint.

I’ve met billionaires who’ve said, “explain it to me as if I were a five-year-old.

This simple phrase has changed my life when it comes to learning.

It comes back to the famous Confucius quote:

“The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, the man who does not ask is a fool for life.”

As soon as you stop asking questions, you stop learning.

As soon as you stop writing down ideas, you forget them.

The hardest part of becoming intelligent is not lying yourself about what you know; it’s being humble enough to ask questions.

If you can do this, then people will see you as intelligent, too.

Steal Like An Artist

My good friend Elbert gifted me with 2 books today: STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST and SHOW YOUR WORK! both by Austin Kleon. I started reading STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST first, which is a book written by an artist with the intention of giving advice to his past self. I really resonated with his belief that nothing is really “original” in this world – everything is merely stolen and adapted from previous concepts/ideas. True authentic art, or any ideas for that matter, are stolen from inspiring work and made better or different. I liked this passage the most:

First, you have to figure out who to copy. Second, you have to figure out what to copy.

Who to copy is easy. You copy your heroes – the people you love, the people you’re inspired by, the people you want to be.

What to copy is a little bit trickier. Don’t just steal style, steal the thinking behind the style. You don’t want to look like your heroes, you want to see like your heroes.

The reason to copy your heroes and their style is so that  you might somehow get a glimpse into their minds. That’s what you really want – to internalize their way of looking at the world. If you just mimic the surface of somebody’s work without understanding where they are coming from, your work will never be more than a knockoff.