Good Luck or Bad Luck? Who Knows!

There is a story of a farmer who used an old horse to till his fields.

One day, the horse escaped into the hills. When the farmer’s neighbors sympathized with the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”

A week later, the horse returned with a herd of horses from the hills. This time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?”

Then when the farmer’s son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone thought this was very bad luck. The farmer’s reaction: “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”

Some weeks later, the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found there. When they saw the farmer’s son with his broken leg, they let him off.

Was that Good luck or Bad luck? Who knows!

Great leaders understand that even though they have all that it takes to be a top-notch leader, they don’t have all the answers.

A leader who always knows the way usually shows the way—but when they don’t know, they allow themselves permission to face the times of Who knows?

Who knows? Remain calm. Great leaders stay calm and refuse to become agitated when things seem to fall apart. They trust in their abilities to pull them through.

Who knows? Trust your abilities. Great leaders have handled crises before, and they have the inner assurance that their capabilities and abilities will pull them through again.

Who knows? Take action. Great leaders don’t become paralyzed by events that don’t turn out exactly as imagined. They make plans and they take specific action to move forward.

Who knows? Invite acceptance. Great leaders accept the idea that in chaos there is order, and that sometimes you have to work with what you’ve got, accept what happens, and move on.

Who knows? Don’t compromise. Great leaders don’t compromise on their integrity. They know that to compromise is to go a little below what they know it is right. When they put integrity first they know they can keep respect.

Who knows? Foster agility. Great leaders know how to respond to change with flexibility and not rigidity. Change and adversity are inevitable; those who are busy worrying about the past or distracted by the present are most certain to miss out on the future.

When it appears there are more questions than answers, more trouble than solutions, more failures than successes, more bad then good, to lead with greatness is to sometimes say, “Who knows!

Lead From Within:  When everything seems to be bad luck– it may just be good luck in disguise— and when not everything has an answer, and not everything can be figured out—that is when true leadership emerges.



N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Panteli Tritchew

    17. Jun, 2014

    “Remain calm. Trust your abilities. Take action. Invite acceptance. Don’t compromise. Foster agility.” Wise words, Lolly.

    When we invite and accept Good Luck vs Bad Luck thinking into our lives, we validate and project Win/Lose dramatics as well.

    Life (and work) become battles to be won, rather than journeys to be taken. When we “allow [ourselves] permission to face the times of “Who knows?,” that is our first step towards acceptance, of the situation, and of ourselves.

    As leaders, we can choose to drive grimly forward, fighting our way through life, aiming for exploits within endless win/lose dramas, or engage our encounters with open minds and tranquil hearts.

    Win/lose dramas do have their place, however- the NBA, the NHL, and the World Cup! Great day to you!

    Reply to this comment
  2. Amy Byer Shainman

    17. Jun, 2014

    My Dad always says…”Blessing in Disguise”.
    Really love this post! Thank you Lolly.

    Reply to this comment
  3. lollydaskal

    17. Jun, 2014

    Amy you have a very smart dad!
    Thanks for sharing


    Reply to this comment
  4. Diana

    18. Jun, 2014

    What a great post and the way you have written this is beautiful and clear. Even for me, a Dutch girl. Thank you for sharing this with us!

    Reply to this comment
  5. Kelli

    18. Jun, 2014

    Hey Lolly
    I love that story and have heard it before. It is interesting how something that seems bad can turn into something good and lead you down a better path. It is so hard not to apply judgment to a situation and just let things unfold. One of the ‘worst’ things that ever happened to me ended up one of the best because it helped me get on my true path, increase my income dramatically and all that good stuff. am getting better at taking everything that happens on my journey in stride, and trusting things will unfold as they should, while taking any actions that will be beneficial.

    Reply to this comment
  6. LaRae Quy

    18. Jun, 2014

    You made great points, Lolly.

    Strong minds are flexible and agile so they can cope with the unexpected in life and business.

    It all comes down to our attitude, and if we cultivate an attitude of curiosity and innovation, we can find ways of landing on our feet…even when confronted with the unknown.

    Reply to this comment
  7. sridhar laxman

    18. Jun, 2014

    Another insightful post
    Thank you
    Reminded me of this quote
    ‘ Go and wake up your luck’
    ~ Persian Saying
    : )

    Reply to this comment
  8. Ryan Biddulph

    18. Jun, 2014

    Lolly, excellent! See an opportunity instead of good, or bad, luck, and you’ll grow through them quickly. Thanks!

    Reply to this comment
  9. Garren

    18. Jun, 2014

    Excellent Lolly…thank you.

    I was reminded of Shakespeare.

    “There is neither good nor bad but
    thinking makes it so”.

    I like LaRue’s comment too…cultivating an
    attitude of curiosity and innovation.

    thanks again…

    Reply to this comment
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  11. Jonathan Boston

    20. Jun, 2014

    Inspiring post Lolly. The rational mind of a true leader remains calm through the most difficult storms.

    I’ve developed a pattern of beginning each day at 5 am with a challenging aerobic workout which always keeps me level headed throughout the day, equipped to handle any adversity that may emerge. Success has a way of always showing up when you lead with a confident, consistent presence.

    Reply to this comment
  12. Daymond

    20. Jun, 2014

    Attitude it´s what make a bad luck into an opportunitty, and good luck into an awesome opportunity when bad luck comes, who knows?.

    There will always be strange circumstances that we can not foresee, but simply not rush to judge whether or not we have a bad fortune, we can overcome the challenges.

    Reply to this comment
  13. abhay gupta

    21. Jun, 2014

    Lovely Lolly ! In our country we believe in things like : reincarnation
    victory of good over evil is assured
    what ever happens happens for the best
    no matter how long and dark the night is, eventually the sun will rise…
    etc etc….
    We also believe in destiny – karma and The Bhagwad Geeta which preaches us to keep doing our designated tasks with out worrying about the results. You will eventually receive what you deserve.
    Best / abhay

    Reply to this comment
  14. Joe Thomas

    23. Jun, 2014

    Great article, Lolly!

    Every leader should understand the difference between “giving up” and accepting circumstances for what they are; bumps along the road.

    I read a great quote that says, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you’re looking at change”.

    Reply to this comment
  15. Dan

    23. Jun, 2014

    Somewhere I learned the phrase “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity” This article supports that saying.

    Reply to this comment
  16. David

    23. Jun, 2014

    I completely agree, follow the path you are on to the best of your ability.Make the most of every day!”Good and Bad Luck Who Knows” is a very true and thought provoking statement,our perception is our reality, some times we need to allow ourselfs to travel the path of least resistance.
    However try not to confuse oneself by taking the easy way, there is a big differance between the path of least resistance and the easy way.
    Thank you all for your thought provoking comments!

    Reply to this comment
  17. David

    23. Jun, 2014

    Started taking horseback riding lessons not too long ago. The horse spooked one day and I asked the instructor, what spooked him? She responded, who knows… stay calm and just keep riding!

    Reply to this comment
  18. wil jaski

    23. Jun, 2014

    Give luck a chance…
    A friend of mine always parked his car outside the city center because it is very hard to find a parking space in the busy center. I always try to park as close as possible to my destination (even in the city center). Somehow I often find a space right in front of the door! If you don’t try, you’ll never know if you’re lucky….

    Reply to this comment
  19. Felix

    23. Jun, 2014

    Outstanding article…but I wish you would have included that great leaders control their ego and consult with subordinates. Also please note that your most important comment in this article is that great leaders do not compromise their integrity. The latter, which often times is done in the name of “political correcteness” by those who lack courage is what is causing the loss of focus on the target, mediocrity and the lack of INTEGRITY itself……

    Reply to this comment
  20. Just LA

    24. Jun, 2014

    this past year has been a real year of good/bad and who knows. the project from hell, two broken arms and 3 months offf work living away from home, a failed relationship staff shortages and a broken leg. In each one, there was good and bad, but the good truely outweighed the bad. A successful project that has won 3 awards, 3 months living with my sister and her family, playing with my grand neice and my dogs, a relationship that i didn’t have the courage to leave and the chance to work on my upper body strength using crutches. (OK, that one is a stretch!) Sometimes you just have to wait to see the ultimate outcome.

    Reply to this comment
  21. Anthony Giambrone

    25. Jun, 2014

    1st time reader . Enjoyed article, hope to follow you now that I have found your site.

    Reply to this comment
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    10. Jul, 2014

    Lovely Lolly ! In our country we believe in things like : reincarnation, victory of good over evil is assured.

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  24. Rick Corbett

    22. Jul, 2014

    Lolly, great post. Those are signs of truly great leaders.

    Reply to this comment
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  26. sumeet

    27. Aug, 2014

    Leadership cannot be learned!

    Its like a horse,
    If a leader have not a good heart then it will escape from them.
    If a leader have a very good heart then it will stay with them

    Reply to this comment
  27. Ace-Nectar

    13. Dec, 2014

    Honesty Integrity Tenacity: Hallmarks for Humans. Thank you for the “Horse Story”, Ms Daskal.

    Reply to this comment
  28. Louei Ali

    12. Apr, 2015

    Excellent post Lolly. I really enjoyed it, benefited, and shared. It is one of those posts that you read multiple times and it gets better every time.

    Reply to this comment
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      03. Jun, 2015

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  29. pokoknya

    16. Jan, 2017

    Somewhere I learned the phrase “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity” This article supports that saying.

    Reply to this comment
  30. Aaron Munetsi

    03. Mar, 2017

    Excellent advice Lolly, you have summarised what leadership I’d in very simplend yet very vivid terms. I was reflecting on my past behaviour in similar situations and I could see in my mind’s eye how I could have taken control my acknowledging in simple terms…Who knows! Thank you Lolly for sharing this wisdom of leadership. My Dad used to advise us to “Do your bedt”. Another way of saying “Who knows”!

    Reply to this comment
  31. jual rumput sintetis

    25. Apr, 2017

    Lovely Lolly ! In our country we believe in things like : reincarnation, victory of good over evil is assured. Nice

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    02. Nov, 2017

    Information that greatly adds insight to me, an interesting discussion.

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  33. Jason

    13. Mar, 2018

    I’ve experienced the “Good Luck” disguised and buried in what seemed like a “Bad Luck” turn of events! The “Who Knows” ended up being an employment opportunity in which I found myself working a job that I love and earning more money than I ever could’ve expected! We should always move forward, even though it may seem impossible! Take what happens to you, learn from it and Always go forward and never step back!

    Reply to this comment
  34. Good luck

    21. Jul, 2018

    This is a great analysis from the farmer’s story. ‘’ good luck or bad luck’’. And the leadership quotes there are really inspiring as well. Thanks for this such great article.

    Reply to this comment
  35. Reggie Guevara

    15. Dec, 2022

    Thank you for this, Lolly. It’s one of the favorite stories of my Dad. I used to think it was just an excuse for not acting properly. You made me realize that it’s a perspective after acting properly.

    Reply to this comment

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