If life seems to have it in for you read this! I have been reading NLP (neuro linguistic programming) at Work by Sue Knight and came across this wonderful parable in the section about thought patterns. It is so good it has to be shared!
“One day a traveler was walking along a road on his journey from one
village to another. As he walked, he noticed a monk tilling the ground
in the fields beside the road. The monk said “Good day” to the traveler
and the traveler nodded to the monk.
The traveler then turned to the monk and said, “Excuse me, do you
mind if I ask you a question?”
“Not at all,” replied the monk.
“I am traveling from the village in the mountains to the village in
the valley and I was wondering if you knew what it is like in the village
in the valley?”
“Tell me,” said the monk. “What was your experience of the village
in the mountains?”
“Dreadful,” replied the traveler. “To be honest, I am glad to be away
from there. I found the people most unwelcoming. When I first arrived
I was greeted coldly. I was never made to feel a part of the village no
matter how hard I tried. The villagers keep very much to themselves;
they don’t take kindly to strangers. So tell me, what can I expect in the
village in the valley?”
“I’m sorry to tell you,” said the monk, “but I think your experience
will be much the same there.”
The traveler hung his head despondently and walked on.
A few months later, another traveler was journeying down the same
road and he also came upon the monk.
“Good day,” said the traveler.
“Good day,” said the monk.
“How are you?” asked the traveler.
“I’m well,” replied the monk. “Where are you going?”
“I’m going to the village in the valley,” replied the traveler. “Do you
know what it is like?”
“I do,” replied the monk. “But first, tell me, where have you come
“I’ve come from the village in the mountains.”
“And how was that?”
“It was a wonderful experience. I would have stayed if I could but I
am committed to traveling on. I felt as though I were a member of the
family in the village. The elders gave me much advice, the children
laughed and joked with me, and the people generally were kind and
generous. I am sad to have left there. It will always hold special memories
for me. And what of the village in the valley?” he asked again.
“I think you will find it much the same,” replied the monk.
“Good day to you.”
“Good day and thank you,” replied the traveler, smiled, and
Steve Andreas & Connirae Andreas (1987) Change Your Mind:
And Keep the Change, Real People Press.