Remember the last time you fell flat on your face? The more you strive for more, the more likely you will get hurt. The last time I can remember was when I went to launch my first app, So Quotable, and my programming team disappeared - with the code.

Whether it is a loss of customers or an idea failing to launch, it pays to have tools to keep your wits about you. There will be another day, and there will be a better moment beyond right now.

The super short parable

Jenny Blake, Bernadette Johnson, and other consultants have shared with me this classic Zen parable (this version is from Beliefnet):

An old Chinese farmer had a mare that broke through the fence and ran away. When his neighbors learned of it, they came to the farmer and said, "What bad luck this is. You don't have a horse during planting season." The farmer listened and then replied, "Bad luck, good luck. Who knows?"

A few days later, the mare returned with two stallions. When the neighbors learned of it, they visited the farmer. "You are now a rich man. What good fortune this is," they said. The farmer listened and again replied, "Good fortune, bad fortune. Who knows?"

Later that day, the farmer's only son was thrown from one of the stallions and broke his leg. When the neighbors heard about it, they came to the farmer. "It is planting season and now there is no one to help you," they said. "This is truly bad luck." The farmer listened, and once more he said, "Bad luck, good luck. Who knows?"

The very next day, the emperor's army rode into the town and conscripted the eldest son in every family. Only the farmer's son with his broken leg remained behind. Soon the neighbors arrived. Tearfully, they said, "Yours is the only son who was not taken from his family and sent to war. What good fortune this is..."

Falls often proceed vision

It's often easier to see opportunities after a block or a challenge simply because you are more open minded. As I shared in a previous column on failure:

What would Steve Jobs be if he wasn't booted from the company he founded, Apple? As you can read in Jobs' biographies, his exile gave him a new perspective on the computer industry - and some much needed humility. And Stewart Butterfield, if he didn't fold his ambitious video game startup, would never have created Slack. The rubble of Butterfield's $17 million gaming company led to the billion-dollar communication platform you likely use every day.

As for me, losing tech support for my first app forced me to learn how to program So Quotable myself - leading to a TED Talk and co-founding the successful app Cuddlr, as well as inspiring the best-selling Bite-Sized Entrepreneur series. Sometimes the most inauspicious events can bring the most value to your life.

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