The Birthday boy Sam, not a boy really, but a young man, invited many families for a party at his house. All of them assembled early in the big party hall at the first floor, waiting for him to appear on the scene.
All the guests fell silent with not a word. A few standing close to him ran forward to help him rise up. There was a pin drop silence.
Sam was stunned by the fall. He was not badly hurt and was able to get up on his own. Now he has two choices –
Sam could feel mortified, miserable and ashamed at the way he fell on his birthday in front of all his guests. He can show his misery by apologizing to them repeatedly, continue to feel miserable throughout the party and distribute his misery to all his guests. He could completely destroy every one’s happy moods. His guests would remember his fall and the miserable way he behaved after it, all their life.
His primary suffering due to the pain in his knees might disappear in a few hours but his secondary suffering for falling in public might linger for many days, weeks, months or all his life. But he has another option.
Alternatively, Sam could rise up feeling surprised, look closely at the place he tripped and exaggeratedly laugh saying “What a day to fall!”. He could then join the guests feeling silly rather than miserable and make every one feel at ease. His guests would remember his response to the fall with admiration and wish they could take their own falls as smartly as Sam.
The same person, the same fall but what a contrasting choice of responses! Totally different responses, with totally different impacts on own self and others. What choice would you recommend to Sam or Paul or to yourself when the next fall takes place? Choice one or two?