Who Is To Say? | The Farmer

By Eric Ellis | November 9, 2021 | The Farmer


A farmer, his son, and a horse live on a farm.

One day, the barn door is left open and the horse runs away. Hearing of the news the farmer’s neighbor tells him how sorry he feels for him. “Who is to say what is good or bad?”, the farmer replies. A few days later, the farmer’s horse returns with two more horses. His neighbor is so excited for the farmer’s luck, he ran to tell him so. The farmer shrugs and says, “Who is to say what is good or bad?”

The new horses were not tamed, so the farmer’s son works hard to train them so they could be used on the farm. While doing so, one of the horses throws him off and breaks the son’s leg. His neighbor again runs to the farm to express his deep sadness about the son’s broken leg. The farmer nonchalantly says,

“Who is to say what is good or bad?”

As the son was healing, a war broke out in the countryside. All the young men were sent to fight. Many were seriously injured or worse. However, with a broken leg, the son was unable to go. The neighbor again came to the farm to say how lucky the farmer was.

The farmer sheiks “OMG! Like, seriously bro!” Gotcha! Of course, he didn’t say that. With his standard measured tone, the farmer spoke “Who is to say what is good or bad?”

There are countless things that can hit like a tidal wave of emotions. News, politics, life… In the moment, it can be easy to react. Is it the right thing to do? I find that many times it causes me a lot of grief and headache without offering any support to the issue that caused me to worry in the first place. So, what can be done?


Simply taking a moment to take a break can go a long way. This can give our body a much-needed reset. Our brain is hard wired to force our body to react when it thinks you are at risk. Financial losses are processed in the same areas of the brain that respond to mortal danger¹. The challenge is your brain cannot tell the difference between the possibility of losing resources or a giant hungry grizzly bear chasing you. To your brain they are the same. Interestingly enough, you can use this to your benefit.


You can use your breathing as an emotional judo to tame your racing thoughts. Your brain can jolt your body into fight or flight, you can also use your body to tame your brain when it too excited. Adrenaline works in a flash. Breathing works too, however it takes some time. Next time you hear some absurd news that sets you off, first hit pause, then follow these steps. First exhale as much as you can. Next, take a slow, measured, deep breathe in through your nose. Then hold it for four seconds. Finally, exhale slowly. Hold it for 4 seconds. The begin again. Repeat this 5 times. You may be surprised how quickly your mood can change.


What is the real reason for your financial planning? What is your purpose? Making money is not a financial goal, its the natural assumed outcome of investing. What would having more money do for you? For most people it is comfortably living life on their terms. Everyone is unique. Maybe it is having more time to enjoy time with your family. It could be the ability to decide for yourself what you are doing today. What about starting that hobby you’ve always wanted to do? Only you can define it.

Bring your purpose back to its rightful place.

If one thing is for certain it is that life will throw us curve balls. If we could redirect our energy at times to focus on the right things, I think we could save ourselves a lot of unnecessary stress. When we take a step back, we can see the bigger picture. Often the things that once knocked the breath out of us, come and go with ease.


Financial Adviser



Eric Ellis

Financial Advisor


¹ Your Money and Your Brain by Jason Zweig chapter 1 Neuroeconomics page 6.
The opinions expressed here are those of Eric Ellis and not necessarily Raymond James. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. All investing involves risks, including the possible loss of the principal amount invested. No investment strategy can guarantee your objectives will be met. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index of 500 widely held stocks that are generally considered representative of the U.S. stock market. It is unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.
Ellis & Company Retirement Strategists, Kathy Ellis, CFP® professional CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, professional Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.
Raymond James, Ellis & Company Retirement Strategists, and its advisors do not offer tax or legal advice. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional.

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