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Shake it off and Step Up. A lesson in Resiliancy

Updated: Nov 20, 2023

One of my favorite examples of what to do when it seems that life is just dumping on you is an old parable of a farmer and an old mule. The unfortunate mule fell into the farmer’s well. The farmer heard the mule braying, scared for his life because of the deep dark hole he found himself in.


Donkey, shake it off and step up.


The farmer could not figure out a way to get the donkey out of the well. He didn't have a crane. he felt bad, but the mule was old and the well had run dry and wasn't worth worrying about. In a hurry to get back to work, the farmer decided to just fill in the well, burying the poor old mule, putting him out of his misery. He called some neighbors to come help and they all started shoveling dirt in on top of the old mule.


The old mule was hysterical! He was being buried alive! Life was literally dumping dirt down on top of him. But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling, and the dirt hit the old mules back, a thought struck him. It dawned on him that every time a shovelload of dirt landed on his back, he could shake it off and step up on the rising pile of dirt!


Pile after pile of dirt rained down on this poor old mule and each time he shook it off and stepped up. The old mule repeatedly said in his mind, “Shake it off and step up…shake it off and step up…shake it off and step up!” This mantra helped him to stay focused on the task of surviving.


It wasn’t long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well. Shocking the farmer and his neighbors who assumed they had buried the old mule. The mule walked off into the field. Worn out and a little sore, but stronger and still very much alive.


When life starts dumping on you, just remember; "Shake it off, and step up!" It is the key to resiliency!


– Author unknown

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