Sometimes I just can’t get it right! Have you ever felt that way? No matter how confident I am in my decisions, someone always thinks they know a better way to do it. Recently, I was reminded of an old fable that addresses this very issue. It is a cute story that expresses a moral ending that reminds me to just be true to me and trust that I have made the best decision possible with the information at my disposal. Here is the story…
“A man was riding home on his donkey, while his boy walked beside them. A traveler came along and said, "Father, it is not right for you to ride while you make your boy walk. You have stronger limbs."
So the father climbed off the donkey and let his son ride. Another traveler came along and said, "Boy, it is not right for you to ride while you make your father go on foot. You have younger legs."
So they both mounted the donkey and road on a little way. A third traveler came along and said, "How stupid! Two fellows on one weak animal. Someone should take a stick and knock you off its back!"
So they both climbed off, and all three went along on foot, the father and son left and right, and the donkey in the middle. A fourth traveler came along and said, "You are three strange companions. Isn't it enough if two of you were to go on foot? Wouldn't it be easier if one of you would ride?"
So the father tied the donkey's front legs together, and the son tied its back legs together. Then they put a strong pole that was lying beside the road through its legs and carried the donkey home on their shoulders.
That's how far it can go if one tries to please everyone.”
Moral of the story: Be true to yourself and it is ok to stand-alone. People throughout your life will disagree with you and that is their prerogative just as it is yours to disagree with them. Don’t try to please everyone..
- Source: Johann Peter Hebel, "Seltsamer Spazierritt," Sämmtliche Werke, dritter Band: Erzählungen des rheinländischen Hausfreundes (Karlsruhe: Verlag der Chr. Fr. Müller'schen Hofbuchhandlung, 1838), pp. 11-12.