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As I’ve spent this last week in recovery from knee surgery (ACL)–I’ve realized that this is the first time in my life that two things are happening:

a. I have no choice but rest

b. I have to rely on others completely for the smallest tasks (I can’t even carry a cup of coffee!)

Even as I write this, I’m smiling at my own privilege and self-reliance that I’ve used as a support and strength all of these years. How easy it is to claim trust in God when there isn’t much trust needed. I’m grateful, even in the discomfort and frustration, for a valuable reminder:

Setbacks and struggles are always a great teacher.

It’s so normal to chase the next goal, react to the next problem, or walk into the next season without even one exhale. But a life unexamined is a life that, slowly, almost imperceptibly, will wander off course. So in this season of stillness, I’ve been thinking about the good life, and what makes a good life, especially in a time where almost everything we’ve known has been dismantled and restructured.

Out of that, here’s my one leadership lesson for the week, in the form of a Chinese proverb:

Sāi Wēng lived on the border and he raised horses for a living. One day, he lost one of his prized horses. After hearing of the misfortune, his neighbor felt sorry for him and came to comfort him. But Sāi Wēng simply asked, “How could we know it is not a good thing for me?”
After a while, the lost horse returned and with another beautiful horse. The neighbor came over again and congratulated Sāi Wēng on his good fortune. But Sāi Wēng simply asked, “How could we know it is not a bad thing for me?”
One day, his son went out for a ride with the new horse. He was violently thrown from the horse and broke his leg. The neighbors once again expressed their condolences to Sāi Wēng, but Sāi Wēng simply said, “How could we know it is not a good thing for me?” One year later, the Emperor’s army arrived at the village to recruit all able-bodied men to fight in the war. Because of his injury, Sāi Wēng’s son could not go off to war, and was spared from certain death.

Su, Qiu Gui. “The Chinese Proverb of ‘Sai Weng Lost His Horse’.” ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020,