As we age, we start to learn that it’s just not possible to please everyone.
Our desires and happiness are often at odds with those of others. Despite this knowledge, some of us will still put ourselves on the back burner while trying to please someone else. We worry about what others think of us, wondering whether we measure up to the expectations put forth by society and our peers.
While it’s normal to want to fit in, trying to please everybody is a lesson in futility.
First, the world is populated with billions of people, each with their own values, experiences, and beliefs. In such a varied context, there isn’t anything that will be accepted by everyone. You’ll be pulled in different directions, following the advice of those who’ve never felt your heart or walked in your shoes.
Secondly, the more time you spend pleasing other people is less time spent pleasing yourself. In this animation of a classic Aesop fable, a father, a son, and a donkey learn what happens when you try to please everyone – and it’s a very important lesson.
Follow along with the story text below.
One day, a man and his young son were walking to the market with their donkey.YouTube Screenshot - Shareably Source: YouTube Screenshot - Shareably
As they walked down the road, a countryman passed by and said, “What are you doing, you fools? What’s the point of having a donkey if you don’t ride it?”
So the man picked up his son, set him on the donkey, and they went on their way.YouTube Screenshot - Shareably Source: YouTube Screenshot - Shareably
They continued walking and soon passed a group of men. When they saw that the boy was sitting on the donkey, one of them spoke up and said, “Look at that lazy, young boy. He makes his father walk while he gets to ride on the donkey.”
As they walked on by, the group of men continued voicing their disapproval to each other.
Hearing this, the man asked his son to get off the donkey and he climbed up onto the donkey instead.YouTube Screenshot - Shareably Source: YouTube Screenshot - Shareably
They didn’t walk very far before they passed two women. Seeing the man on the donkey, one woman spoke up and said, “Shame on that man for making his little boy walk in this heat.” They glared at him as they walked by.
Now the man was confused as to what he should do. So he picked up his son and put him on the donkey along with himself.YouTube Screenshot - Shareably Source: YouTube Screenshot - Shareably
As they were nearing the market, people began to scoff and point at them. The man stopped and asked the townspeople why they were giving him dirty looks.
One man replied, “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for overloading that donkey with the weight of two people?” So the man and his young son both hopped off the donkey, confused as to what they should do.
They thought and they thought, and then decided to cut down a wooden pole.
They tied the donkey’s feet to the pole and raised it onto their shoulders, carrying the donkey. Rather than have the donkey carry them, they would carry the donkey. The man and his son started to walk away as the townspeople laughed.YouTube Screenshot - Shareably Source: YouTube Screenshot - Shareably
As they came to a bridge, the donkey kicked one foot loose – the son dropped his end of the pole. In the chaos, the donkey fell over the bridge. Since his other legs were still tied together, the donkey drowned.YouTube Screenshot - Shareably Source: YouTube Screenshot - Shareably
The moral of the story is this – if you try to please everyone in life, you will please no one in the end.
Do what you know is right and what makes you happy. This is your life.
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