There’s this funny story that I was re-introduced to courtesy of Michael Port. It is the story of The man, His father, and the donkey.
The man, the father, and the donkey were on a journey to a village ahead of them. The man got tired and decided to sit on the donkey. Passersby saw this and exclaimed, “Ha! Look at this evil boy. How can he sit on the donkey while his aged father walks alongside them?!”
Hearing those comments, they switched positions. Now it is the father on the donkey and son walking alongside them.
Passersby screamed again, “Haa! Look at this merciless father. Doesn’t he know that his son is too frail to withstand this long journey?!”
What? I love my son, the man thought. So they both decided to walk alongside the donkey.
Yet again, the naysayers continued, “Stupid people! A donkey is meant to be ridden. They should both sit on it!”
Well, they have a point, they both thought. So they sat on the donkey.
As they approached a bridge, the voices came again, and this time with more fervor than the previous times, “Haaa! Poor donkey. This is animal abuse. Waaaa…”
“Okay! We have to be resolute. We shall carry the donkey across the bridge because we both care about the donkey,” father said.
Together, they began what would be a tragic journey. As they approached the middle of the bridge, they both grew weary and swayed back and forth from the weight of the donkey. In a matter of seconds, they dropped the donkey into the river and it drowned.
The story above is a dramatic opener and a drift from my usual writing style (I actually think like this in real life. I should write like this more often), but it has also taught me the tragedy of listening to every prevailing voice in my life and my career.