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“Me? Only good things happen to me.”

Years ago, after I graduated from college with a degree in philosophy and before I had any clue what I would be doing with my life, I lived in a small town near Buffalo, NY. Next door lived a man named Herb. He was in his 70s when we were neighbors. He had a way about him that caused you to believe he was some sort of mystic.

Herb, ironically, specialized in herbs. I believe he came from a lineage of western herbalists. I remember jars stacked side by side throughout his house full of dried medicinal twigs, leaves, and roots. Again, this was before the idea of a career in the healing arts and herbology congealed in my being, so at the time, I did not fully appreciate his practice of medicinal herbs.

Herb was funny. I remember when I got married, he gave my wife and me a wedding gift. He handed us this gift in a crumpled brown paper bag with the words written on it, “Quinn and Vickie, I don’t like rap music and I don’t like wrapping gifts… so congratulations.”

Of all the great things I remember about Herb, there was definitely one that stands out far more than anything. It was probably the first words that came from his mouth when I first met him. It was a phrase that became his tagline. Anyone that knew Herb would quickly learn this was his motto. Anytime someone would ask Herb, “How are you?”, he inevitably ALWAYS responded with a big smile that lit up his eyes behind his thick glasses, “Me? Only good things happen to me.” Regardless of where he was or who he was talking to, this was ALWAYS the response.

Everyone in town got to know Herb. He just had that way of being that made you feel like you wanted to be friends with that guy. Herb would always be outside working and puttering around. Our houses were close together and everyone in the community we lived in was fond of taking walks. About 50 times I day I would hear someone passing by Herb’s house and say, “Herb… How are you?” And of course, I would hear his response, “Me? Only good things happen to me.” I am sure people made it point to ask Herb how he was as much as they could just so they could get a taste of his positive energy and outlook.

I do believe that only good things happened to Herb.

Did only good things happen to Herb because he was an angelic-like celestial being who somehow transcended the sufferings, hardships and ups and downs that inevitably comes with being human? No… at least, I don’t think so.

I believe only good things happened to Herb because he simply believed that only good things happened to him, which then made it so.

One of the greatest lessons I have learned in life so far is to know what I know and don’t know what I don’t know. As a result, I have learned there really are not many things that I truly know. But one of the few things I do know is this… we see the world as we are, not as it is. We create our reality. If you decide that the world sucks and it is full of mean people, I promise you will find evidence to support your theory. Also, if you decide the world is beautiful and people are kind, you will also find evidence to support your theory. This is the yin and yang of all things. Both are there always.

In Hamlet, Shakespeare said, “Why, then, 'tis none to you, for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. To me, it is a prison. Well, then it isn't one to you, since nothing is really good or bad in itself—it's all what a person thinks about it.”

Events, experiences, objects are what they are. They are not inherently good or bad. It is our thinking that makes it so. Things simply are what they are, and it is us that assign the terms “good” and “bad”.

What is “good” and “bad” anyway? Is “bad” always bad and is “good” always good? Can “bad” become good and “good” become “bad”?

This reminds me of a story.

Once there was a farmer who had a horse. One day the horse escaped. The farmer’s neighbor said to the farmer, “Your horse escaped. You are so unlucky. How unfortunate! What bad news!”

“Perhaps.” Replied the farmer.

The next day, the horse returned with two other horses. As the farmer put the three horses into the corral, the neighbor returned saying, “You have two new horses! You are so lucky! This is great!”

“Perhaps.” Replied the farmer.

The next day the farmer’s son attempted to ride one of the new horses. The new horse reared up and the son fell to the ground, breaking his arm. Seeing this the neighbor said, “Oh no, this horse has broken your son’s arm! That is terrible. You are so unlucky!”

“Perhaps.” Replied the farmer.

The next day the military came to the village where the farmer lived. The country was going to war and all able-bodied sons must report to duty. Due to the broken arm, the farmer’s son was passed by and would remain home. “Your son is safe and will not fight in war! This is so good! You are so lucky.” Said the neighbor.

“Perhaps.” Replied the farmer.

Sometimes something “bad” turns out to cause something to be “good”, which then, I suppose, makes the original “bad” thing, actually become “good”. I know in my life some of the greatest gifts (metaphorical gifts, not wrapped gifts… in a paper bag) I have received have been the result of some type of hardship.

Above all, we can’t control everything that happens in our life. Stuff happens. At the same time, we can always control who we are going to be in response to anything that does happen. This is immense power if you think of it. Events and circumstances do not dictate our reactions. Does traffic mean we must get frustrated? Of course not, frustration is a choice. We get to choose frustration…or not.

There is an expression that says, “Things don’t happen to us, they happen for us.” We have the ability to change something “bad” into something “good”. We have the ability to shift our perception from that of being victimized to an opportunity for growth and change. Ultimately, this is the power to make only good things happen to you.

Next time you are asked how you are, I invite you to borrow Herb’s wisdom and reply, “Me? Only good things happen to me.” Choose the reality you desire. How fortunate and wise you are that only good things happen to you!


Article by Quinn Akira Takei, Doctor of Oriental Medicine(NM), Licensed Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist, and Holistic Health & Wellness Coach. The Center: Natural Health Specialists, 8404 Six Forks Road, Suite 201, Raleigh, NC 27615. (919) 848-0200.

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1 Comment

Amy Keating
Amy Keating
Sep 04, 2021

This is an absolutely beautiful reminder. Thank you!

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