061 - how to stop jumping to conclusions


There's a quote from Shakespeare's Hamlet that teaches us about perspective and how it's all our choice: "for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so". It's your beliefs and opinions toward the situation and what is happening that depends on how you see and define the situation

We define getting old as either good or bad. Getting injured is either good or bad. Failure is either good or bad. We preemptively label things that happen as either good or bad, when we truly don't know which it is, and our opinions and thoughts of the situation truly determine it...

This causes us to make assumptions and jump to conclusions about what's happening. In today's society, we tend to pride ourselves on being correct, even if it's at the demise of others. But there's another thing I'm beginning to discover as I move through life that's a lesson I wish to pass on to these next generations - and it's that you can never be sure of what something means as it's happening to you, or just after it happens

People will always say "you're so lucky", "I wish that were me", and "that's so great" preemptively, as we only see things at face value. When in reality, this may not be so great

And there's a zen story about a farmer that explains this concept brilliantly:

"There was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbours 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 neighbours 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 neighbours 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 neighbours congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.

"Maybe," said the farmer."

What this story teaches us is that we shouldn't judge things when they happen to us, nor should we jump to conclusions. We should accept what is in front of us, and deal with it the best way possible knowing that anything could happen at any time, and it's outside of our control


Actionable Tips + Questions:

  • Do I currently judge instances that happen to me or others as good or bad straight away, and does jumping to this conclusion usually work out better or worse than the original task that happened?
  • How can I stop judging myself or others, and instead see things in equilibrium for what they truly are?
Nick Maier