Things that happen to us are good or bad, depending on the context.
When context changes, a bad thing can become a blessing. (The reverse can also be true i.e. a blessing can become a curse.)
There is an old Chinese story about an old farmer, his only son, and their only horse that illustrates this concept well.
One day, the old farmer's horse ran off. The son despaired, “What bad luck!” The old farmer replied, “Good or bad luck, too soon to tell.”
A few days later their wayward horse returned along with 6 wild horses. The son exclaimed “What great luck!” The old farmer replied, “Good or bad luck, too soon to tell.”
The next day while working the horses, one horse threw the son off its back and broke his leg. The son cried, “What bad luck!” The old farmer replied, “Good or bad luck, too soon to tell.”
Days later, war broke out and the King's army rounded up all the able bodied young men to fight at the battle front. The son was spared thanks to his broken leg.
After the leg healed, father, son and 7 horses worked the farm, and prospered.
Good luck? Bad luck?
Who can tell! It all depends on the context.
Changing the context of an experience or something that happens to us can change how we perceive, interpret and react to it.
In NLP, context is changed using the conversational technique of Context Reframing.
In Context Reframe, a person changes the context by taking the unfortunate behavior or event, and asks:
• "Where could this behavior / situation be valuable?"
• "In what other context would this behavior / situation be a blessing?"