Good? Bad? None of the Above


The oldest joke I can remember is from junior high school (so don’t expect high literature here):

  • I went on a small plane trip.
  • Oh, that’s good.
  • No, that’s bad – the plane developed engine trouble.
  • Oh, that’s bad.
  • No, that’s good – I put on a parachute.
  • Oh, that’s good.
  • No, that’s bad – couldn’t get the door open.
  • Oh, that’s bad.
  • No, that’s good – opened the window and jumped out.
  • Oh, that’s good.
  • No, that’s bad – the parachute wouldn’t open.
  • Oh, that’s bad.
  • No, that’s good – saw a haystack below me.
  • Oh, that’s good.
  • No, that’s bad – there was a pitchfork sticking up from the haystack.
  • Oh, that’s bad.
  • No, that’s good – missed the pitchfork.
  • Oh, that’s good.
  • No, that’s bad – missed the haystack.

 I thought of that old joke when I heard MBA professor Srikumar Rao tell his (much shorter) version:

  • A man is laid off from work due to budget cuts.
  •  Good news? Bad news? Who knows?
  • Later, the company shuts down and everyone loses their job.
  • Because the man had been laid off earlier, he was given a large severance package and started his own business. Had he remained with the company, he would have received nothing.

The problem with labeling things, events, or people as “good” or “bad” is that the labels are little boxes with rigid sides. No thing, event, or person fits into a little box – each is multilayered with aspects that range the entire spectrum between “good” and “bad.” Perhaps try to look at the various layers of a situation or a person, rather than boxing your thinking into a narrow-minded on/off switch.

I try to eliminate the words “good” and “bad” in my thinking, speaking, and writing (except this blog, of course). Perhaps you will join me and see the full range and depth of every experience, rather than a bunch of plain, brown boxes. Maybe choose words such as “like” or “prefer” or “don’t like” for events and experiences. Maybe eliminate judgment on the first meeting of a person. Look past the clothing, the color of the skin, the accent, the height, the weight, and the overall appearance of the person. Talk with the person and find out what that person and you have in common, and what differences there may be from which you could learn something new or perhaps you have something new to share with the other person – at an individual-to-individual (or one aspect of Source talking with another aspect of Source) level. See the various layers of that person, and then choose whether you wish to continue with the conversation or move on to another person. You may be surprised at the interesting people – and some new friends – you meet this way.

Open your world to new experiences, free of little brown boxes.



2 thoughts on “Good? Bad? None of the Above”

  1. A powerful example of a way of looking at circumstances to stay out of judgement and allow the “positive” state of Being to unfold. Wonderful!!!

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