Shake it off… the problem is the solution.

Donkey mule in s mediterranean olive tree field of MajorcaLet me share a story with you about a farmer and his donkey.

The first time I heard it, I got wrapped up in the details and did not allow myself to just appreciate the message.  That happens sometimes.  We over-think something.

This is not a true story.  No living beings were harmed in the making of this lesson.  It’s just a metaphor.  We fall down, it appears that there is no recovery.  But what initially looks like more trouble, can actually hold the solution.

This story is a classic example of possiblity thinking.  It’s clever.  And secretly what I love most is that it makes the donkey the smartest guy in the room.

One day a farmer’s donkey fell into a well. The farmer frantically thought what to do as the stricken animal cried out to be rescued. With no obvious solution, the farmer regretfully concluded that as the donkey was old, and as the well needed to be filled in anyway, he should give up the idea of rescuing the beast, and simply fill in the well. Hopefully the poor animal would not suffer too much, he tried to persuade himself. The farmer asked his neighbours help, and before long they all began to shovel earth quickly into the well. When the donkey realised what was happening he wailed and struggled, but then, to everyone’s relief, the noise stopped. After a while the farmer looked down into the well and was astonished by what he saw. The donkey was still alive, and progressing towards the top of the well. The donkey had discovered that by shaking off the dirt instead of letting it cover him, he could keep stepping on top of the earth as the level rose. Soon the donkey was able to step up over the edge of the well, and he happily trotted off. Life tends to shovel dirt on top of each of us from time to time. The trick is to shake it off and take a step up.

I have a stone on my desk.  It’s pretty small – only about 2 inches – an oblong shape.  It’s a beautiful jade green stone.  One one side, the word “problem” is carved.  On the other side is the word “solution”.  Both exist within the same space.  It’s about how we look at it.  I often pick it up when I’m facing a challenge just to remind myself that how I’m looking at the situation is really affecting what I see in the situation.

So I’m passing the story along… what’s in your life right now that you could re-visit and ask yourself – “Where is the solution in this?”  Because it’s there.  I know it is.   You know it, too.

About Kathi Laughman

Referred to by her clients as “The Plan B to Z Expert”, Kathi inspires them to see beyond probabilities to possibilities. They are stronger, happier and more financially secure than ever before. The result is the creation of far more value in the rest of their story than they ever dreamed possible. She serves professionals committed to continuously creating new pathways to success and significance.


  1. Excellent story and a good reminder. I had seen this story some time back, but it’s a great story and one we should all read from time to time. Thanks for posting it.

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge