Monday Mornings with Madison


One day a farmer’s donkey fell down a well. The animal brayed piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey. So he and his neighbors grabbed shovels and began to shovel dirt into the well. The donkey realized what was happening and at first cried horribly. Then the animal quieted down.

This was because with every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake the dirt off and take a step up. And then another, and another. The men were soon astonished to see the donkey step up over the edge of the well and trot off!

The moral of the story: sometimes it feels like life is shoveling dirt on us. The trick is to keep shaking off the challenges and taking a step up. This is hard to appreciate because we all like security and we hate challenges. We just want them to end so we can begin to live. We don’t realize that these challenges and the process of overcoming them is, in fact, our life.

The biggest risk?       Many people look for a job that will give them a paycheck at the end of the week, along with a feeling of security. This way they don’t have to face challenges and overcome risks. Even if they can barely live on their paychecks, even if they’re bored and know deep down that they are not using their talents, most people still prefer this so-called security. They don’t realize that the biggest risk you can take is to try, above all, to be secure.

But if you want to be successful in business and in life, you have to choose to take on challenges. You have to be constantly growing and learning to use more of your capabilities. Each of your challenges is a stepping stone that you can use to climb out of even the deepest well. As Churchill said, “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never…”

Success in business and in life comes from learning from your mistakes so you can do what needs to be done a little better the next time. Every successful person has failed numerous times. Part of becoming successful is making as many mistakes as you can as fast as you can. But don’t make the same mistake over and over again. When you do, you get covered with dirt. If you stay stuck, whining and suffering, you might claim that it’s not your fault, and you might be right. But who cares? Sometimes you have a bad day, bad week or bad month and that’s okay. The question is what you do with it. Successful people say, “What can I learn from this?” And then they choose with even more determination and commitment to do the best they can.

No one ever truly fails. Some people just stop trying. When things go wrong in your work, when a customer or client doesn’t come through, chances are they aren’t rejecting you. People all have their own issues and stresses. You might have caught them at the wrong moment, which does not mean that they don’t need your product or services. They might even turn into your best clients… if you don’t give up.

Stop and think. Are you complaining, or are you facing your challenges? Do you have a clear picture in your mind of where you’re heading, even as you climb out of whatever difficulty you might be facing? Are you determined to learn from your mistakes? Why is this important to you?

“The world has a habit of making room for the person whose words and actions show that they know where they’re going.” Napoleon Hill

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