Everything Good That Happens To You Is Bad

A farmer had only one horse. One day, his horse ran away.

All the neighbors came by saying, “I’m so sorry. This is such bad news. You must be so upset.” The man just said, “We’ll see.”

A few days later, his horse came back with twenty wild horses. The man and his son corraled all 21 horses.

All the neighbors came by saying, “Congratulations! This is such good news. You must be so happy!” The man just said, “We’ll see.”

One of the wild horses kicked the man’s only son, breaking both his legs.

All the neighbors came by saying, “I’m so sorry. This is such bad news. You must be so upset.” The man just said, “We’ll see.”

The country went to war, and every able-bodied young man was drafted to fight. The war was terrible and killed every young man, but the farmer’s son was spared, since his broken legs prevented him from being drafted.

All the neighbors came by saying, “Congratulations! This is such good news. You must be so happy!” The man just said, “We’ll see.”

The above proverb comes in many forms, all showing how the first interpretation of events that happen to you is usually the emotional one. There is good in bad and bad in good, and both can be acted upon in a way to give balance. Otherwise life will toss you around like a doll as you hurry to categorize every event as “good” or “bad.”

The ancient Greeks believed that once you prepared for battle with the best troops and arms you could muster, the actual result would be based on fortune. If they lost many battles in a row, they’d actually use that as a reason to fight again, for fortune would surely not deal so many continuous defeats. While they did take superstition a bit far when cancelling an attack due to a solar eclipse or a strong storm, I believe their approach to life’s randomness was the correct one. They hoped for victory; they planned and trained for it, but the moment the first arrow flew, they understood that little more could be done.

Today, we try to eliminate the effects of fortune. We over-plan, over-estimate, and over-expect in the belief that it will guarantee a result. Then what happens when fortune plays its hand out of our favor? We fall like a house of cards…

  • “Why is this happening to me?”
  • “I didn’t do anything to deserve this.”
  • “It’s too hard.”
  • “I give up!”
  • “Life isn’t fair.” (Sent from my iPhone)

If things didn’t go your way then it is “bad” and if things went fine then it is “good.” Modern humans, with all their superior technology and knowledge, have conditioned themselves to behave like laboratory rats, hitting a lever in the hopes of receiving a drop of morphine instead of an electric shock. Every day they hit the lever expecting a positive result, but when they don’t get that result they believe that life dealt them and only them a bad hand, no matter how many billions of people have a far lesser station.

Instead of being slaves to the result, we should let the god of probability determine our fate after preparing the best we could. While some emotion helps you stay invested in your goals, events are neither good or bad. When you act to the best of your ability, over the course of a lifetime, you’ll steadily be driven towards your desired result. The goal is not to be a master of your environment, but to be a master of how you let your mind interpret your environment.

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  • HCE

    ““Life isn’t fair.” (Sent from my iPhone)”

    LMAO!

  • Anonymous

    There’s nothing ever happen that’s random.

  • Timoteo

    Every time someone asks “Why me?” I want to say to them, “Why NOT you?”

  • Theodora

    Well this comes with some good and bad too. And it’s also different for different countries, religions etc. I think I’ve read somewhere it’s especially prominent in the US, less so in the Middle East and Asian and Mediterranean counries (where the individual is mostly part of a group). Maybe that’s why it annoys you.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locus_of_control

  • Anonymous
  • taterearl

    “Life isn’t fair.” (Sent from my iPhone)

    I see what you did there.

  • Eric

    I really liked this you should post for philosophy like that.

  • http://squidlaw CaptainCaveman

    It’s a good entry like the poem about a dog who had two bones. He licked one, and then the other. He went psycho and he is not dead.

  • Joe

    Great post, people can take results too seriously.

  • John Rambo

    You’re really becoming ZEN now, Roosh. Keep on meditating, doing yoga, eating mushrooms, or whatever it is that you are doing. You’re on the right path now, straight to enlightenment.

  • Sam Spade

    Well if you watch or play American football you know this. Just as in life, you never know which way the ball is gonna bounce.

  • Santiago solari

    I see you are turning philosophical. Trying reading up on this guy:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osho

  • Giovonny

    “Life isn’t fair.” (Sent from my iPhone)

    ha

    too many complainers in life. Not enough trailblazers.

  • fjod/10199

    from Flash Forward: “you are trying to fight fate, man.. and this is so sad.. because you have already lost”

  • space_monkey

    Are you master of your domain?

  • Anonymous

    “There is good in bad and bad in good, and both can be acted upon in a way to give balance. ”

    You should read up on Taoism. This is a very Taoist way of thinking. Taoism also has an elaborate philosophy of yin and yang and women and men that any game aware man would instanntly understand as descrbing acurately the dynamics of gender relations, and everything else in life. Reading up on it will actually enhance your game.

  • BB

    You sound like you’ve been reading the Stoics. Excellent!

  • http://welcometothelifestyle.wordpress.com/ misterinfinite
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  • Carlito

    I remembered the opening lines of Match Point: The man who said “I’d rather be lucky than good” saw deeply into life. People are afraid to face how great a part of life is dependent on luck. It’s scary to think so much is out of one’s control. There are moments in a match when the ball hits the top of the net, and for a split second, it can either go forward or fall back. With a little luck, it goes forward, and you win. Or maybe it doesn’t, and you lose.

  • http://3rdmilleniummen.wordpress.com 3rd Millenium Men

    Really, really good points Roosh. I also think it’s important to look at bad events in isolation and not all mutually reinforcing, even when a number happen at once. If a bunch of bad things happened at once, it’s likely to just be chance. Just as rolling a dice can result in clusters of 1 or 2 numbers, and that’s random. Wrote more on this a while back – http://3rdmilleniummen.wordpress.com/2012/10/27/the-peaks-and-troughs-of-attracting-women-picking-up/

  • k

    roosh,

    the opposite is also true

    everything bad that happens to you is good….

    -you either learn a valuable lesson
    -change your ways
    -pay the appropriate price
    -get stronger
    -or die/quit – in which case you should not have been doing what you ere in the first place.

  • MotoGzz

    Ain’t life pietzsche with Nietzsche?

  • Anonymous

    Roosh, are you offering advise to strippers on how to get over their approach anxiety for selling lappers on stripperweb? I definately saw someone suggest your canned opener (one of my fave’s too, I don’t want it wasted on strippers!)

  • 20 years later

    First Alain de Botton, now the “maybe” luck story from Zen. I followed a similar path of authors, might I suggest Michelle du Montaine next.

  • http://nigelsbiggameblog.wordpress.com Nigel Big Game

    Fortune favors the bold.

  • Phillyastro

    Rota fortunae – Wheel of fortune. A good read is also Boethius’s Consolatio Philosophiae.

  • Anonymous

    You messed up your life doing something you don’t even have the energy to do anymore and you’re luring people to follow the same path nowhere. The proverb is really menat to say whatever bad happens to you is not necessarily all that bad but even that is bs. I mean, what are the odds in real life of all that bad stuff from the proverb turning good (and not the other way around)?

  • http://dannyfrom504.wordpress.com dannyfrom504

    i’ll just leave this here.

    And you open the door and you step inside
    We’re inside our hearts
    Now imagine your pain as a white ball of healing light
    That’s right, your pain
    The pain itself is a white ball of healing light
    I don’t think so

    This is your life, good to the last drop
    Doesn’t get any better than this
    This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time

    This isn’t a seminar, this isn’t a weekend retreat
    Where you are now you can’t even imagine what the bottom will be like
    Only after disaster can we be resurrected
    It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything
    Nothing is static, everything is appaling, everything is falling apart

    This is your life, this is your life, this is your life, this is your life
    Doesn’t get any better than this
    This is your life, this is your life, this is your life, this is your life
    And it and it’s ending one-minute at a time

    You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake
    You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else
    We are all part of the same compost heap
    We are the all singing, all dancing, crap of the world

    You are not your bank account
    You are not the clothes you wear
    You are not the contents of your wallet
    You are not your bowel cancer
    You are not your grande latte
    You are not the car you drive
    You are not your fucking khaki’s

    You have to give up, you have to give up
    You have to realize that someday you will die
    Until you know that, you are useless

    I say let me never be complete
    I say may I never be content
    I say deliver me from Swedish furniture
    I say deliver me from clever arts
    I say deliver me from clear skin and perfect teeth
    I say you have to give up
    I say evolve, and let the chips fall where they may

    This is your life, this is your life, this is your life, this is your life
    Doesn’t get any better than this
    This is your life, this is your life, this is your life, this is your life
    And it and it’s ending one-minute at a time

    You have to give up, you have to give up
    I want you to hit me as hard as you can
    I want you to hit me as hard as you can

    Welcome to Fight Club
    If this is your first night, you have to fight

  • RJJ

    Excellent post. After studying philosophy for over 10 years, this sentiment is the most important thing i’ve taken away to incorporate into my life.

    I consciously engage with decision making, but not the result; i make my move and simply observe the consequences. If there is something new to be amalgamated from the result, all well and good. Interpretation is, by definition, a choice.

    It has taken a long time for me to override my natural inclination to react emotively to everything that happens to me.

  • http://blackdragonblog.wordpress.com/ Blackdragon

    “You can tell the size of the man by the size of the things that make him mad.”

    Yes, orienting your mind to minimize the number of things make you upset and maximize the number of things make you happy is core concept of living a long term happy life.

  • Sid

    But Roosh, if you keep posting entries like this one, I will be forced to send my father ur blog link. Now it will be awkward seeing the archive ofc.

  • Maldek

    Never give up, always improve and the results will follow.

  • http://www.pussyhoundonthedole.blogspot.com/ PussyHoundontheDole

    When I lost my job, my nerd friends said, “this is so bad. How unlucky.Don’t worry, you will soon find another Job” I said, “We’ll see” and went on welfare. The rest as they say, is history.

  • John Patrick Mason

    “Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and fuck the prom queen.”

  • Bad Religion

    “Culture was the seed of proliferation but it’s gotten melded
    Into an inharmonic whole, to an inharmonic whole.
    Consciousness has plagued us and we cannot shake it
    Though we think we’re in control, though we think we’re in control.
    Questions that besiege us in life are testament of our helplessness.

    “There’s no vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end.” [(Hutton, 1795]

    When we all disintegrate it will all happen again, yeah.
    Time is so rock solid in the minds of the hordes but they can’t
    Explain why it should slip away, explain why it should slip away.
    History and future are the comforts of our curiosity but here we are
    Rooted in the present day, rooted in the present day
    Questions that besiege us in life are testament of our helplessness.

    “There’s no vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end.” [(Hutton, 1795]

    When we all disintegrate it will all happen again, yeah.
    If you came to conquer, you’ll be king for a day,
    But you too will deteriorate and quickly fade away.
    And believe these words you hear when you think your path is clear…
    We have no control. We have no control.
    We have no control, we do not understand.
    You have no control, you are not in command.
    You have no control. We have no control.
    No control. No control. You have no control.

  • http://www.thetraveltart.com Anthony

    Whatever happens is an event – it’s how you look at it that determines whether the event is bad or good!

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  • a

    American football is for gay who want touching from other guys. hahahaha

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