Shake it off and step it up!


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The Old Mule in the Well 

This parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer’s well. The farmer heard the mule ‘praying’ …or whatever mules do when they fall into wells. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. 

Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery. 

Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back …HE SHOULD SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP! This he did, blow after blow. “Shake it off and step up…shake it off and step up …shake it off and step up!” He repeated to encourage himself. 

No matter how painful the blows, or how distressing the situation seemed the old mule fought “panic” and just kept right on SHAKING IT OFF AND STEPPING UP! 

It wasn’t long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, STEPPED TRIUMPHANTLY OVER THE WALL OF THAT WELL! 


If you talk to ex-smokers, the most of them will admit that they felt like giving up at the beginning. Everybody who fights an addiction feels like that and I assume that’s normal. The big picture can be overwhelming and there are moments when we feel hopeless and drown in self-pity. Sometimes it’s just not that easy to see the “silver lining”.

“Little steps” persistence and determination is the key -to everything.  One step at a time – one day at a time “shake it off and step it up”.

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.

Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.

Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.

Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

~ Calvin Coolidge

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3 thoughts on “Shake it off and step it up!

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