Once upon the time there was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.

“Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.

“Maybe,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.

“Maybe,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.

“Maybe,” said the farmer.

Your work as a technical writer or as a documentation lead will span years, even decades. During this period, you will receive accolades and brickbats in equal measure. It would be very easy for you to take both the praise as well as the criticism to heart. Don’t. Try and be like the farmer.

When you are successful, colleagues, relatives, family, everybody will be proud to be seen with you. When you fail, nobody will even talk to you. The same people will be with you again, when you are doing well. Their loyalty is like the serpentine dance of the dragon. Do not get carried away by either.

Success and failure are two sides of the same coin. What seems like success to you today can turn into failure tomorrow which can in turn lead to greater success the day-after. Thus, non-attachment to either will help you achieve equanimity, be humble and set you in the realization that ‘this too shall pass…’