Don’t Speak Too Soon

Editor’s Note: Craig Freshley is a ┬áprofessional meeting facilitator, speaker, trainer, and author based in Brunswick, Maine. He runs Good Group Decisions, writes weekly blog posts, and sends out a weekly newsletter.

Craig Freshley writes:

Don’t speak too soon, for the wheel’s still in spin

The line is from Bob Dylan. Do you know the song?
Here’s a Taoist story along the same lines.

There once was a farmer whose horse ran away. On hearing of the misfortune, the farmer’s neighbor arrived to commiserate, but all he got from the farmer was, “Who knows what’s good or bad?”

This proved to be true, for the next day the horse returned, bringing with it a drove of wild horses in its train. This time the neighbor arrived with congratulations, only to receive the same response. “Who knows what’s good or bad?”

This too was so, for the next day the farmer’s son tried to mount one of the wild horses and broke a leg.

More commiserations from the neighbor, with the same response which was again validated, for soldiers soon came around commandeering for the army, and the son was spared because of his injury.

Another way to think of this concept is: God is still speaking. More will be revealed and it is not for me to judge in the present what is best for the future.

I once saw someone accept bad news as neither good nor bad, just news.

I once saw someone accept bad news as truly bad, yet remain open to things turning good; open to unimaginable twists of fate.

I once saw someone receive awesomely good news, yet not get carried away with illusions of grandeur. “There are no big deals,” this person used to say.

These three people showed me that I always have a choice to accept whatever comes. I have a choice to react with moderation. I have a choice to make peace with whatever is happening now and simply be curious about whatever comes next.

Posted in Links, Reflections.


  1. As a retired therapist I have told a version of this tale numerous times to folks to encourage this non judging attitude that allows room for new choices and moving forward. Judgments tend to cloud the glass while seeing a larger perspective opens vision for growth and greater inner freedom.

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