The Burnham Group at Morgan Stanley - “Financial Guidance to Multisport”
As a diverse, successful, and driven group, the intent of the following thought is to reinforce and provoke thoughts in your life that are virtuous and reasonable in nature, which by avoiding those that are not, says Marcus Aurelius’, encourages happy thoughts and happiness. The below story was shared with me by colleagues at Dorsey, Wright and Associates– enjoy.
The Story of the Zen Farmer
A farmer’s horse disappears one day. His neighbors, noticing the horse is missing, gather at the farmer’s house one evening after farming and remark upon his terrible luck. The Zen farmer shrugs and simply says, “We’ll see.”
The next day the horse returns and brings with it several wild horses that the farmer can use to speed up his plowing in the field. The neighbors gather once again and remark on his good fortune. The Zen farmer shrugs and says, “We’ll see.”
The day after his son breaks his leg, officers from the Emperor’s Army arrive to seize all able-bodied young men in the village for mandatory service. The neighbors gather to commiserate and tell the farmer how fortunate he is that his son recently broke his leg and was therefore spared from the soldiers. Again, the Zen farmer shrugs and says, “We’ll see.”
The wisdom of the Zen farmer is that we can never know just where the winds of fortune will blow, or even how they will chart their course and, ultimately, what it may mean for the future. Knowing this, we don't throw our hands up in defeat and refuse to farm. We adjust our expectations, make certain we are using the best farm implements we can find, and go to the fields every day knowing that we are neither masters of our fate, nor victims of it, but are instead students of it.
How many times have you observed someone visibly shaken by something like a longer-than-expected wait at the casher because it ran out of paper, or at an ATM for some reason just will not read the card or ran out of cash, or even at the airport over a flight that despite all odds has somehow failed to depart at its scheduled time? What positive outcome could possibly come from letting such events get your blood pressure up? Could you control any of those outcomes? Could you realistically do anything differently to avoid a similar outcome in the future? The answer is largely “no” on both fronts, and would suggest to the Zen Airline Passenger that we simply find something productive or at least pacifying us through new found spare time at Gate F22. Yet often enough we see this behavior which seeks to take away from our moment of happiness in life with the less-than-virtuous thoughts that are allowed.
The Zen Farmer isn’t necessarily better than his neighbors; he’s just better at focusing on things that are important, the things he can change, and ignoring the things he cannot. None of us knows what the future will bring no less how a frustrating moment in our lives in any given moment, but if we can just practice a little Zen Farmer every now and then, we will adapt while remaining generally happier on the journey in life which is so, so short when you thing about it.
Continue to enjoy sport as a way to stay healthy, and practice and stay in your Zen Farmer self.
Jim Weaver – The Burnham Group at Morgan Stanley - “Financial Guidance to Multisport”