A Donkey Called Mischief

It was hot sunny market day as it usually is in Northern Nigeria, and a local businessman named Adamu decided to take a load of salt to the village market, so he placed about a dozen sacks of salt on his donkey named Mischief (they still ride them there believe me) and set off for the village market. 

The road to the market was close to a slippery ledge. As they passed the ledge, the donkey stumbled, lost its footing and fell into shallow stream below. The water melted the salt, relieving the donkey of his burden. The unhappy merchant returned home and loaded the donkey for the second time.

I’m sick of carrying things, especially salt, the donkey thought to himself. If I keep falling into the water, I can keep getting rid of these loads.

The second time the donkey approached the slope and intentionally lost his footing and fell in. By then, the merchant had caught on to the donkey’s trick. On the next journey, he loaded the animal with sponges. When the donkey fell into the stream, he found himself struggling under a load that had more than doubled in weight.

Counter old tricks with new ones.

Inspire your workers by helping them understand that their work has a higher purpose and hard-work never kills. Sure at first it may make you’re weary but if you keep at it, you’ll grow stronger. It’s like going to the gym to lift deadweight for the first week- it seems dreary initially but after a while you get the hang of it and start enjoying it especially when you get feedback on how fit you’re looking.

If you’re an entrepreneur reading this, then let me paraphrase the immortal words of Oprah Winfrey, God can dream a bigger dream than we can ever dream for ourselves. The key to realizing the dream is to seek for significance not success. Then even the hard-work and smallest insignificant steps will have meaning.

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