What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way


Here’s a story that I love, and that illustrates for me how I can choose to allow events to happen in my life, without getting emotionally affected by them. It’s an old Chinese proverb that I first heard on my NLP course…

“An old and wise farmer owned one horse. The horse ran away. “Poor you” said the neighbours, “how sad!”

“Maybe…” said the Farmer

A short while later, the horse returned, bringing a new  horse friend with it. “You are so lucky” said his neighbours.

“Maybe…” said the Farmer.

The Farmer gave the second horse to his Son, who enjoyed riding it. One day, he fell off and broke his arm.

“How unlucky” said the Neighbours.

“Maybe…” said the Farmer

The next day, the King’s men travelled through the area commandeering any young and able men they could find to fight the King’s war. Of course the Farmer’s son was not taken.

“How lucky you are!” said the Neighbours.

“Maybe…” said the Farmer…

Daphne and the Smiley ShellsFor me, the moral of this story is that it is best not to judge whether something that is happening in our lives is either “good” or “bad”.  When we look back on life, we may find that something we judged as “bad” at the time, could in fact be just what we needed in order for life to work out better for us in the end.

Of course it’s always nice to celebrate the good things in our lives, but perhaps we could become less  judgmental and emotional about  what we see as “bad” in this moment.

For instance, my younger son didn’t get into the local Grammar School, even though I gave him as much tuition and encouragement  on taking the tests as his big brother, who did go to the School.  A little disappointing at the time as we would have liked him to follow in his brother’s footsteps but we knew he had done the best he could.

A few years later we discovered his learning style was not academic and he actually had a more artistic style of learning, He may well not have thrived in the Grammar School as their teaching style would be different to his needs. He is now carving a career in the animation world and we are very proud of all he has become. Just as we are of his older, more academic brother. Intelligence comes in many forms.

So, if things don’t work out how you’d like them to be for you or your child, please be patient. You may find that in a few weeks, months or year’s time you’ll be glad they worked out differently, now that you have a different perspective.

Why is this important? Because when we give a lot of thought to, and keep re-living things that have gone wrong (traffic jams, being made redundant, a child breaking your favourite ornament) you are actually using mental energy that makes you feel more tired, angry etc. This can drain you, both mentally and physically.

Added to this, your subconscious can’t tell the difference between your memory and what has happened once, so each time you “re-play” the memory, it thinks it’s happening again.

So even though you only experienced, say, having an argument with your Partner once, the more people you tell, the more times your subconscious re-lives the situation. In the end, it can feel like you’re always arguing!

Shakespeare wrote; “Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so”. Try remembering this wisdom during your day, and notice whether it helps you see your life differently, and how you feel about that.

As ever, if it’s a struggle to do this on your own, do contact me for a little help and support.


Vicki Tongeman

Vicki Tongeman

Vicki Tongeman is a Wife, Mother, Artist, Teacher, Author and Coach. She lives on the beautiful shores near the New Forest and loves walking and being mindful on the beach and in nature. Her friends call her the “Magic Mermaid” as she combines life changing coaching techniques with a sprinkle of Mermaid Magic!

As an NLP Practitioner and personal coach Vicki is passionate about helping people develop their inner self confidence and achieve their goals.


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