One day, a cherished horse of an old man ran away. The horse was so valuable to the old man as his whole property because it ploughed, carried the loads, and helped him a lot.

The loss was immense that he could not even eat but kept thinking of the lost horse. Some friends and neighbours of the old man came by to eat with him and console him, but he was still disheartened.

Few years later, the horse came back. The horse returned with foals. The old man was overjoyed. The joy was even greater with the new foals as well as the old horse’s return. We call this episode “A misfortune turns into a blessing.”

This happens a lot in our life journey. Many times, weaknesses turn into strengths and benefits. Weakness is like a bridge to change a situation. This happens not only to a single person but in family, community, society, and nation where we belong to.

Our life gets sometimes overwhelming and painful, but the pain turns to joy and bliss over the time. In the time of hardship, optimistic mindset and vision to the future should be taken with the thoughts of “I can do it, you can do it, thus we can do it,” instead of being taken by depression.

Switzerland, one of the most want-to-visit countries, has many disadvantages. The area is 41,284 km2, that is the similar area of Bhutan (38,394 km2). The population is less, 80% of the territory is mountainous lacking sufficient flatlands for farming, and natural resource is almost to zero. The Swisses were aware of the disadvantages of their country and made many efforts and researches. What does not require flatlands and natural resources? What kind of industry would suit us? The solution was building a precision watch industry. The result, the best watches in the world, sold at high prices. “What more industries are legit while maintaining the watch industry?” The key to this questioning was food and pharmaceuticals industry.

To this day many other countries recognise the Swiss foods and pharmaceuticals and use them. Furthermore, precision watch, food, and pharmaceuticals industries comparatively make less contamination to the nature that the natural environment of Switzerland is well-preserved.

Many countries in the world take the nature for granted damaging or destroying it for the economic development. Because the industry in Switzerland improved but the nature was safeguarded, it unexpectedly attracted numerous tourists at first. If Switzerland had vast terrains with ample natural resources, the people would have not thought of the industries like that of watches.

To develop its economy, the nature could have been damaged that eventually pollute the land, air, and water. If it happened, Switzerland would have not been a tourist area as well. The key to the story of Switzerland called as the paradise in Europe both economically and environmentally is the endeavour to shift the weaknesses to strengths. The most important psychological aspect is their mentality to ponder on such questions like what the best they can do is and what the most appropriate is in their circumstances and to strive on researches and finally to develop on them.

In the case of Switzerland, the conditions were poor to make an economic development just like the old man who lost his horse. Meanwhile, the poor conditions allowed the Swiss to be able to work on watches where not many people are involved in and on food and pharmaceuticals in a row.  The continuous research to find the most suitable in their conditions gave them an idea of eco-friendly industry.

This had no negative effect to the nature that enabled tourism industry as well which is an analogy to the return of the lost horse with its foals. Before complaining, how can I make use of the weaknesses? This attitude is crucial. Weakness is like a bridge, transition so to speak, to change to strength.

Contributed by, Sangrok Suh