Lessons from a man his son and a donkey on the importance of sticking to the plan

Stick to the plan
Stick to the plan, your dreams will follow. (Shubham Kumar).

Growing up gave me very fond memories that I still treasure to date, including a story that I loved hearing over and over again about a man, his son, and a donkey.

The story is about a man who decided to go to the market to sell his donkey, so that he could get some money.  He was accompanied by his son.  The man was well known in his village, and as they walked to the market, which was quite a distance from their home, the man would occasionally stop to greet and chat with his friends, who would ask him where he was going and what he was going to do there.

This kept happening whenever he met his friends, forming a pattern of walking-stopping-walking.  After some time, the man realized that the journey to the market was taking longer than expected.  Somewhere along the way, he met a former schoolmate and after exchanging greetings, the man mentioned to his friend that the journey was taking longer than expected.  In response, his friend told him that may be the son was walking slowly because he was hungry and tired, and should ride on the donkey to save time.  After thinking about it, the man thought it was a good idea, so he helped his son to get on to the donkey’s back.  About an hour later, the man met with another friend of his, and he complained again about the journey taking longer than expected, to which his friend responded that may be the son should walk so that the man could ride on the donkey.  After thinking of how tired he was, the man felt that it was a good idea, so he helped his son to get off the donkey and they switched places.  About an hour or so later, the man and his son came across of a group of people who told off the man for letting his son to walk bare-feet on the hot sand, under the scorching January sun, while he rode on the donkey’s back.  When the man explained to them what had happened earlier, and why he was riding the donkey, they told him that if he really wanted to get to the market fast enough, the donkey should be carried.  After thinking about it, the man tied up the donkey with a rope, and using both ends of a pole that was attached, he and his son carried the donkey.

But guess what, the donkey got so scared and struggled so hard that it managed to free itself and ran in to the forest and disappeared.  The man had lost everything.  He had no donkey and he had no money, so the two of them headed back home empty handed.

This story teaches us the importance of sticking to your plan.  Had the man stuck to his original plan—of waking up early and walking to the market with his son and the donkey no matter how long the journey took—he would have attained his goal of selling the donkey and getting some money to support his family.  Riding on the donkey is not a bad idea by all means, but if it had occurred to the man before starting the journey, he probably would have made the necessary arrangements, and placed a saddle on the donkey.  But it was not his plan.  So, why did he allow people to distract him to do what he had not planned for?  Does this sound familiar?

It is good to have the flexibility to alter a few things when implementing your plan, but a lot of caution needs to be taken, so that you do not end up getting the wrong advise.  Nobody knows you more than you know yourself, which means that you know what is good for you, and why you need to come up with your various plans.  To help you stick to your plan until fully implemented, you need to:

  • Know the reason behind the reason. This simply means that once you make a decision to do something, also known as having a plan, you need to really focus and keep reminding yourself what you are doing, and why it is important for you to do it.  The man knew he wanted to go to the market to sell his donkey.  Had he focused on the fact that once he sold his donkey he would have money to support his family, he probably would have kept walking at a comfortable pace, and minimized getting too distracted by people who gave him all manner of advice.
  • Set a timeline and keep track of your progress. One of the last things to do when making a plan is to consider the resources you have, and use this information to come up with a list of what you need to do and by when—for you to know that you are heading in the right direction.  In the man’s case, because he knew that the journey to the market was long, he probably should have set simple milestones like covering a certain distance within an hour or so.  This way he could keep track of the progress (or lack of progress) made along the way, and made the necessary adjustments.
  • Always have plan B. In life, it is very important to apply methods and processes that work for you, and not what works for everybody.  With this in mind, in addition to having your master plan that you have spent so much time to develop, always have plan B, and the best way of doing this is to ask yourself, if_ _ _ does not work by the time I _ _ _, then I will_ _ _.  If the man had a plan B, the moment he realized that his son was slowing him down, he could have decided in advance that instead of taking a day to get to the market, one and a half days would be his plan B.

When growing up I was also told that a person who does not have a plan plans to fail.  Have a plan and stick to it and your dreams will turn into reality.  Much love and all the best!


This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Cool good motivation that can keep one going.

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    1. Lucy Wariara

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