‘We’ll see’ is an all too familiar phrase, I’m sure just like me you can remember a time when you may have either used or heard this expression.

When we say ‘we’ll see ‘ we probably do so when we feel we need to say something and when we haven’t fully decided what. Alternatively it also means when we hear the phrase that the person saying it doesn’t fully agree with what you may have just said.

Lets look a bit deeper and look for the meaning the phrase carries with it by reading an old Taoist story.

‘We’ll see’ is the story of an old farmer who had laboured hard on his farm for many years, growing crops to feed himself and his family. One day his horse ran away.
After hearing the news, his neighbours from the village came to visit.
“That’s bad luck,” they said in agreement.

“We’ll see,” said the farmer.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses.
“That’s wonderful,” said the neighbours.

“We’ll see,” said the farmer.

The next day, his son was thrown whilst trying to ride one of the untamed horses and broke his leg.
“That’s terrible.” The neighbours agreed sympathetically.

“We’ll see,” said the farmer.

The next day the army came to the village to draft any young men into the army.
Seeing that the farmer’s son had a broken leg they left him and took all of the other young men.
“That’s good news”‘ said the neighbours as they congratulated the farmer.

“We’ll see” said the farmer.

‘We’ll see’ is a story that means different things to different people, some people say the story is about fate, or that everything happens for a reason, others say it is about experience and we should not jump to conclusions.

Perhaps the farmer sits on the fence with optimism on one side and pessimism on the other, and like him we all have the opportunity to see the good or the bad in just about any situation.

The strong message I take from this story is that when others around you jump to conclusions experience shows its sometimes better to step back say ‘we’ll see’ and take some time to consider the situation.

We should also remember that what we get is what we focus on an the problem doesn’t always have to be the outcome.