My son is passionate about fighting animal cruelty and helping the vulnerable so I knew for sure he was going to hit me with questions when we saw a donkey tied to a small tree by a tiny rope on one of our leisure drives. (Side note: He’s almost 8)

“That donkey is strong enough to snap that rope and run away free, isn’t it?” He asked me with a fierce look in his eyes.

“Yes, it certainly is.” I replied.

“So why is it still standing there?” He promptly asked again.

I knew it was a begging opportunity to instill another deep life lesson.

“Look son, when that donkey was a kid, just like you, they used the same size rope to tie it and continued all the way up to adulthood.” I replied.

“It definitely had the will to fight for freedom when it was young but because it was not strong enough at that tender age to rip that rope, it grew up being conditioned that the rope is stronger than it is.

As adults, they think the rope can still hold them, so they don’t try fighting it anymore.”

That donkey in this case is experiencing Learned Helplessness.

This phenomenon occurs when someone has been conditioned to anticipate discomfort in some way without initially having a way to avoid it or make it stop.

After enough repeated failures, the person stops further attempts in order to avoid the pain, even if they see an opportunity to escape.

If you go through life thinking that you can’t do something just because you have failed at doing it in the past, you’re living with a fixed mindset.

You have to let go of your limiting beliefs in order to make the breakthroughs that are required for your ultimate success.

Learn about different strategies. Learn about new ways. Ask a mentor.

Keep trying, because time and failure might have made you stronger than you think.

Don’t let other people tell you that you can’t do something, and don’t hold onto an assumption that you can’t grow and learn from past failures.

Enjoy the Challenge!


Photo by Kwame Asiwome