Beware of the Strategy of the Donkey!



Once upon a time a merchant was leading his donkey to market. On his donkey’s back he had loaded bags of salt that he was going to sell. Now those bags of salt were heavy, and the day was hot so this donkey was not too happy about having to carry his load. But as the relationship between the man and donkey would have it, the donkey had little choice in the matter and thus plodded wearily on.

Now to get to the market, the merchant and his donkey had to cross a river. There was a bridge over the river, but it was old and in a state of disrepair so great care had to be taken when crossing this bridge. There had been much talk of repairing the bridge but it only seemed important while you were actually on it. Anyhow as they were going over this bridge the donkey slipped and fell into the water. The bridge was not high and the water not deep so the donkey was not hurt, except for his pride.

However the coolness of the water soon cheered him up and he swam to the other side and oh, joy, when he climbed out on the other side his load was gone. Why? Well you know what happens to salt when it is mixed with water. It dissolves, right?

Now we have a reversal of emotions. The donkey is happy, his burden has miraculously gone. The merchant is unhappy, his income has been lost. There is nothing to do but go home.

Sometime later the merchant and his donkey are again travelling to the market and again the donkey is carrying a heavy burden. Only this time it is not as unhappy as last time because he remembers the river and knows that he only has to bear the load to there.

As they are crossing the river the donkey slips, you know how it is, that ‘accident on purpose’ type of thing, and falls into the water. This time however the donkey’s joy is short lived. Instead of getting lighter his load is getting heavier and he has to really struggle to reach the river bank where he finds to his dismay that his load is now so heavy that he can hardly stand.

You see what the donkey did not know was that he was not carrying salt this time around but rather, cotton. And as you well know, cotton absorbs water and therefore gets heavier.

The moral of the story is that you should not rely on memory alone; you should not count on old strategies working every time. Always take the time to evaluate your situation before deciding on a course of action. Do you have enough information? Is the information accurate? What has changed? How will that effect the situation? How should I respond to the change? Don’t rely on past success; build on it. Don’t be defeated by past ‘failures’; learn from them.

It has been said that if you keep on doing what you’ve been doing, then you will keep on getting what you’ve been getting. Well this is no longer true. Our world is changing so fast that if you keep on doing what you’ve been doing, then you will be left behind. You have got to be constantly aware of changes in your environment and make sure that you adjust your strategy to accommodate those changes.

So, beware of the strategy of the donkey!


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