Are You Smarter Than an Old Mule?
There’s a story I see every now and then making the rounds on Facebook about an old mule trapped in a pit. But there’s a lesson in there for all of us!
You’ve probably heard or read it. Except there are actually two versions of it that I’ve seen.
In the first version, the one I’ve seen more often, a farmer finds that an old mule has fallen into a pit and can’t get out. So he begins shoveling dirt into the pit. At first, as the story goes, the mule cries out in despair, thinking the man is going to just give up on him and bury him.
But the mule realizes that if he shakes the dirt off his back, it falls to the floor of the pit, slowly raising the level of the floor.
Eventually, he steps out of the pit and into freedom.
Other than that moment of despair, it’s a great story about turning adversity into advantage.
The same lesson comes from an alternate version of the story that takes a very different turn. In this version, the farmer decides the old mule is too old to be of any use. So he rewards the animal for its obsolescence by pushing it into a pit and shoveling dirt on top of it to bury it alive.
The mule in this version doesn’t despair, however. It immediately realizes the dirt will lead to its rescue and patiently shakes shovels full of dirt off its back, one by one, until it is able to step out of the pit, much to the chagrin of the farmer.
Both versions end the same way. But one story begins with a stumble into trouble while the other begins with being pushed into it.
How interesting it is that in both cases, the secret to survival is taking a quick stock of the situation and finding a way to make the best of a bad situation until you can simply step out of it.
There’s a definite message of hope in that, and I hope you keep that story in mind and that it proves meaningful for you, whether you’ve stepped into a pit or were shoved into one.