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The Art of Hunting Silver Linings

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by negative events and negative media of all types? Sometimes even by people with negative attitudes? Or, sometimes difficult workplaces?

More importantly, did you know there is another way to perceive your world – through a more positive, functional lens.

Let me illustrate this through the story of “The Silver Lining of The Lost Horse.”

“There once was an elderly rancher who lived with his son on the outskirts of a small town in the rolling foothills bordering the Rocky Mountains. They both enjoyed riding horses and also raised horses for a living. Then one day, the rancher lost one of his most prized mares named Banner.

A hired hand ran in and said, “Banner has gone missing, boss! Looks like she has run off into the foothills. We can’t find her anywhere.”

After hearing of the misfortune, some of the old rancher’s friends and neighbors felt sorry for him and, to comfort him, they said,” We feel bad for you, old friend. How unfortunate to lose such a fine horse, such a misfortune!”

However, the rancher simply smiled and said, “Maybe yes, maybe no.”

Some days later, a strange thing happened. Banner, the lost horse, returned bringing back with her another beautiful horse.

After hearing the good news, once again the rancher’s friends and neighbors came over, this time to congratulate him on his good fortune.

However, once again, he simply smiled and said, “Maybe yes, maybe no.”

One day his son rode out into the foothills on the fine new horse. Suddenly, he cost control, fell from the horse, and broke his leg. The doctor told the elderly rancher, “Unfortunately, your son will never be able to walk again without a limp. What misfortune!”

But the old man was still unfazed and simply said, “Maybe yes, maybe no.”

A year later, the rancher’s country went to war and the government came to recruit all of the young men in the town and surrounding area. Because of his injury, the old man’s son was not drafted into the army and thus spared possible death. The rancher grew older, raised horses with his son, and got to know his grandchildren.”

Most situations in our lives can be seen as positive or negative by how we choose to see them. The old rancher chose to see each situation as neither too positive nor too negative. He preferred to let each situation unfold as it should and hunt for the silver linings in each one.

The simple lesson is: Nothing is ever as bad as it seems. Nothing is ever as good as it seems. There are silver linings in most situations in our lives. How do you go hunting for them?

It’s a simple tool, actually. It accompanies you on your daily journey from morning to dark. It can take no more than one minute. It’s called gratitude. I’m sure you have figured that out by now.

How can you use it?

  1. Take 20s. to think of something or someone you are grateful for.

  2. Take another 20s. to ask yourself “why” you are grateful for that something or someone.

  3. Use the last 20s to write it down or share it with someone. Doing this brings your gratefulness into sharper focus.

While using this one minute, you will feel an actual change in how you feel! Dopamine and serotonin, two of the feel-good transmitters, are released. You can physically feel the change take place, however short.

You, and only you, have the control to hunt for the silver linings that occur throughout your life.

Can you create a habit to look for those silver linings every day? Absolutely! The only question is, “When are you going to start?”

~ Dana


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