Bad Luck is the Key to Your Future Happiness

Bad luck is sometimes the luckiest thing that can happen to you.

Posted Jan 14, 2018

There is a story that has always struck me as especially wise. In his book, Still Here, spiritual leader Ram Dass tells it best:

Once there was a farmer in a village who had a horse that he treasured. One day the horse ran away, and the farmer’s neighbor came to his house to offer his condolences. “I’m so sorry for your loss,” he said, trying to be a good friend. “You never know,” the farmer replied.

The very next day, the horse came back, leading a beautiful wild mare alongside him. Again the neighbor piped in: “That’s wonderful!” he said. “What a stroke of good luck!” The farmer replied, “You never know.”

A few days later, the farmer’s son was trying to break the wild horse, was thrown to the ground, and broke his leg. Of course the neighbor came over to say how sorry he was that things had gone badly. The farmer replied, “You never know.”

A short time later, the Cossack army came through the village in search of young men to fight in the war, but since the farmer’s son’s leg was broken, he was allowed to stay at home. “Aren’t you a fortunate man!” the neighbor said when heard the news. You can guess what the farmer replied.

When change happens we judge it as good or bad, but often we can’t know for sure. We don’t have the broader perspective that time brings.

When change means rejection or loss it always feels dreadful. This is especially so when unfairness and injustice are at play. One would have to be an extremely highly evolved spiritual being to welcome rejection and loss with a great big hello, joyous for the opportunity to have bad things happen in order to grow as a person or to have the possibility of some new door opening up down the road.

But the worst luck can turn out to be the best luck when you look back at it with the wisdom of many years. The universe has taught me this lesson again and again.

Of course, this is not always true. Some things that happen to us are appalling and terrible, period. And I should hastily add that I am definitely not one of these people who thinks that everything happens for a reason and that life’s greatest tragedies are a gift in disguise, opening us up, as they may, to the deepening of the spirit. Furthermore, I don’t tend to handle crises with maturity and grace—unless it’s somebody else’s crises, in which case I can be a mature, clear- thinking person.

But in my own experience with both love and work, some of the the most painful rejections and hurts, did, indeed, turn out to be for my greater good and my future happiness. Sometimes the farmer's words have proven to be true. 

You never know.