Sage Narad was on his way to meet God. En route, a rishi accosted Narad and requested to confirm with Him when he would get the fruits of his penance. The sage promised to do so. On his way further, another rishi approached Sage Narad with the same request. Narad promised him too.
After his meeting with God the sage was returning. One rishi with all anxiety enquired what the reply was. Thereupon the sage said, Oh Rishi! Count the number of leaves of this tree under which you are doing penance. That many years will take for you to reap benefits of your penance. Still are there so many years to go? Oh God! What a long wait! Grumbling so, the rishi deserted the place abandoning tapas.
Narad gave the same reply to the other rishi who was also curious. To Narad's surprise, the rishi started dancing out of joy. The rishi profusely thanked Narad for conveying the good news and expressed his gratitude to God. Narad enquired what made him rejoice when the other rishi was repulsive to the same answer.
The gleeful rishi said Oh wise sage! For two reasons I celebrate now. One is that it is now confirmed that my penance is to fructify. The second reason is that it is not going to be indefinite wait. Precisely after how many years I am going to get the fruits of my penance is now.
“The moral of the story is that it is not what happens in life but what you do with what happens in life that shapes the outcome of any event in life. What we do with what happens is a matter of attitude. “