Good News? Bad News? Who Knows?

26th March 2017

Gavin Preston

Double Your Business Book


In another extract from Chapter 1 of my forthcoming book “Double Your Business”, I share with you another reason we can get in our own way:

Attaching the wrong meaning to the things that happen to you

There was this ‘old boy’ who ran a ranch in the wild west frontiers of America.  One day his three prize horses which did a lot of work on the ranch pulling the ploughs escaped over the fence and disappeared across the prairie.  The people of the nearby village said to the old man “You are so unlucky. Your three prize horses that do all of the work on the land have escaped. How are you going to be able to cope?”  The old man replied “Good News? Bad News? Who knows?”

The next day the horses reappear on the other side of the ranch fence and his big strapping 19 year old son who does most of the work on the ranch went out to secure the horses and bring them back inside the ranch. Whilst he was doing this he was trampled upon by one of the horses and broke his leg.  The village folk said “You really are unlucky! First your three prize horses which do so much work on your land escape and then when they reappear one of them breaks your son’s leg. How are you going to be able to cope?”  The old man replies ‘Good News? Bad News? Who knows?”

The very next day the army ride into town conscripting all of the young able-bodied men to take them off to fight the war.  The old man’s son could not be taken to war because of his broken leg.  The village folk said “You are so lucky, you son has not been taken away to almost certain death”.  The old man replied “Good News? Bad News? Who Knows?”

As human beings we are great makers of meaning.  Something happens to us (Fact) and we attribute a meaning to that thing (Fiction).  The thing that happens could be either or good or bad, the statement of which is a non-emotive fact.  It is the meaning which we attach to the thing that happens that determines whether we interpret it as “Good News” or “Bad News”.  As Vishen Lakhiani in his book “The Code of the Extraordinary Mind” says:

“It’s as if we have a meaning-making machine in our minds that kicks in and creates Brules[1] about every experience we have……The meaning-making machine never sleeps….We add meanings to every situation we see and then carry these meanings around as simplistic and often distorted and dangerous models of reality about our world. We then act as if these models are laws.”

[1] A ‘Brule’ is a term coined by Vishen Lakhiani as short hand for a B— S— Rule, things we assume to be true which are not and we make them into rules of how things should and should not be done. Because they are not true Lakhani terms them as BS Rules, shortened to Brules.

Depending upon the meaning we attach we will experience a feeling. That feeling will determine the action (or inaction) we take.  That feeling will make us feel good or bad.  When we feel good (e.g. emotions of confidence, optimism, courage, pride, excitement) we are going to take positive steps towards achieving our objectives.  You will make that call, approach that joint venture partner, ask for the business, invest in new premises, machinery or talent.  You move forward.

If, however, you are feeling bad (e.g. pessimistic, doubting yourself, feeling there is no point or no hope, feeling a failure) your actions or rather inactions are going to be different.  It is likely you are spending time focusing on how bad the situation is and as you do so your anxiety levels rise and your ability to come up with new ideas, to develop creative solutions diminishes.  “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” Corrie ten Boom.

Change the meaning, change the action and change the result.

If you would like to take the facts of where your business is at now and turn them into a launch platform of a new success story then I can help you.  If you want the rush of excitement and certainty you get from a clear growth strategy and implementation plan then let’s spend a day together working on your business.  A day that you could look back on in 12 months’ time and be very grateful you invested the time of spending a day working on your business.

There is still time to jump on board with our Spring offer.

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