Reframing

There is an oft-repeated story of a Chinese farmer that goes something like this:

A farmer and his only son were busily plowing their fields when their horse broke free from its harness and ran off into the nearby hills. When their fellow villagers heard of their plight they began to commiserate, “Oh, what terrible luck! How unfortunate! What will you do?” To which the farmer responded, “Good luck, bad luck—who knows?” Several days later the farmer's horse returned with two other horses in tow. His fellow villagers were astonished as they exclaimed, “What wonderful luck! You lose your only horse and end up with three!” To which the farmer responded, “Good luck, bad luck—who knows?” Several days later the farmer's son was attempting ...

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