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The Parable of the Lucky Horse

An old farmer worked his crops for many years. He had a horse but it ran away.

His neighbour said, “Suck bad luck, I'm so sorry. You must be so upset.”

“We'll see", the farmer replied.

A few days later, the horse returned with 10 other wild horses following. The man and his only son rounded up all the horses.

His neighbour said, “Wow, congratulations! How wonderful. You must be so happy!”

The old man replied, “We'll see.”

The next day his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses. The horse kicked the man's son, breaking his leg.

His neighbour came to offer to his sympathy. “Such bad luck! You must be so upset.”

“We'll see”, said the farmer.

The country went to war, and military officials toured the villages drafting every able-bodied young man to fight. They spared the son with the broken leg. All the other sons of the village were sent to a bloody and viscious war.

His neighbours congratulated the farmer on his good fortune.

The man just said, “We'll see”.


I love the simplicity of this story and the relevance it provides to the challenges faced by startups and entrepreneurs.

3 things stand out for me;

  • I need to avoid judging events that I have no control over as good or bad. This is an error. Luck is luck. No more, no less
  • I must be careful not to claim credit for good luck or dwell on bad
  • I will never know whether luck is good or bad until after the event so to label it as such is not helpful

Have a lucky day!

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