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The Farmer and the Donkey

"One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out a way to get him out. Finally he decided it was probably impossible and the animal was old and the well was dry anyway, so it just wasn't worth it to try and retrieve the donkey.

So the farmer asked his neighbors to come over and help him cover up the  well. They all grabbed shovels and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first when the donkey realized what was happening, he cried horribly.

Then, to everyone's amazement, he quieted down and let out some happy brays. A  few shovel loads later, the farmer looked down the well to see what was happening and was astonished at what he saw.

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Picture of a donkey
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With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was shaking it off and taking a step up. As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he continued to shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, to everyone's amazement, the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off!

Moral: Life is going to shovel dirt on you. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Every adversity can be turned into a stepping stone. The way to get out of the deepest well is by never giving up but by shaking yourself off and taking a step up.  What happens to you isn't nearly as important as how you react to it."

The author of this story is unknown and while the story itself may not be a new one, the message behind it is as relevant and significant as when the story was first created.

Sometimes it feels like we're stuck somewhere and unable to get up or out. Sometimes others give up on us. But it's when we give up on ourselves that we're truly in trouble. In this story, the donkey initially reacted as many of us would, feeling sad, depressed, and likely on the verge of surrender.

But then a change in the donkey's perspective happened, where he began to see the  obstacles in front of him (the piles of dirt) not as blockades keeping him from his goal (freedom), but rather as stepping stones or opportunities, each one bringing him a little closer to his heart's desire.

The same is true in our lives. There will be moments where it seems like life has got you  down and days when it feels like your problems are just piling up on top of you, when you feel buried by responsibilities or issues and you just can't see a way out. You look around for help and it seems like everyone around you is against you.

But even in these moments, there is hope. As long as you maintain faith in a better tomorrow, as long as you trust that things can improve, even if you can't logically come up with a way, the things that were meant to weaken you may actually prove to be the very same things that strengthen you, motivate you, and even save you.

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