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It’s Your Donkey

There are people around us whom care enough about us to give us advice on how we should conduct our business.  Often, this advice is unsolicited, and is thrust upon us with ultimatums.  The wise seek counsel, but the wise also make their own decisions.  Buffalo Bob may have taken advice from the Peanut Gallery, but they didn’t run the Howdy Doody Show; and the captain is the one who helms the ship to port, despite all the input from all the sources a captain needs to do so.

I have a stock response for well-wishing free-advice givers, which is, ‘Thank you, I’ll take your counsel into consideration.’  And, I do.  If I consider the advice good, I’ll use it; if not, I won’t.  The guy who brushes my teeth every morning is the only guy that can make those decisions for me, because he’s the guy who brushes my teeth every morning.

We are the stewards of our own destiny.  When we let other people do this for us, we run into unnecessary problems, which we are still responsible for resolving.  The following is an old parable I recently posted to a friend on one of my social networking sites.  I don’t think it has a name.  The parable illustrates the problems of always doing what others suggest, and not follow our own intuition.

‘Way back when … A man sold his donkey to a villager. He thought to take his son along into town to deliver the donkey. On the way into town they thought they’d enjoy the walk, and lead the donkey by a rope.

‘One of their neighbors along the way saw this, and became infuriated. “What are you doing!” the neighbor said, “You have a strong donkey, and you’re making your son walk? What kind of thing is that?”

‘So, the man had his son ride on the donkey as they went into town. They came across another neighbor along the way. “What are you doing?” the neighbor asked, “What kind of son are you to make your poor old father walk while you ride a donkey? And what kind of father are you to let him do it?”

‘So, the boy got off the donkey, and let his father ride as they went into town. They came across another neighbor along the way. “Wasteful!” the neighbor accused, “There you have a strong donkey you both could be riding, and only one of you is. What kind of thing is that?”

‘So, the man helped his son up on the donkey so both of them could ride. At that point, the donkey’d had enough. He bucked both the man and his son off his back, mumbled something about joining the French Foreign Legion, and trotted off into the sunset … leaving the man, the son, and their transaction in town in his wake.’

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  1. 2011/08/02 at 20:11

    Proving once and for all that if you listen to everyone’s advice about how to use your donkey, you could end up losing your ass.

    • 2011/08/02 at 20:14

      You’re pretty sharp, Dick! I hope you don’t mind if I plagiarize that as a synopsis.

  2. 2011/08/02 at 21:10

    I just love your blog Gerald!

    • 2011/08/03 at 00:48

      Thanks Jill, but you really ought to call me either Henny or Jerry. Gerald is my black bow tie name.

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