When you are in trouble.... remember the mule
It is a very popular phrase that “donkey sinks in quick sand and not the mule”. Instead of knowing the absolute science about the phrase, the contextual reality and its relevance to the corporate is what one must try to understand first.
Mule is a 'hybrid child' born to a stallion (jack) otherwise a male donkey and female horse or a mare. The mule is sexually sterile but biologically very useful to man from time immemorial.
Is it true that mules do not sink in quick sand but donkeys do? The truth is that both animals sink. But there is a difference between them and the difference definitely carries an extraordinary management message to the men in corporate.
The donkeys, due to their fear and anxiety, struggles to escape from the quick sand and thereby get trapped deep in the quick sand to death. On the contrary, the mule is said to remain calm and relaxed when it is caught in quick sand.
From the standing posture, when trapped in the quick sand, they quickly sit on the soil so that they don't get immersed in the quick soil so easily. When there is danger, donkeys complicate it through their struggle, fear and lack of farsightedness. But mules remain calm and see whether they can explore a solution.
In the corporate, both the mule and donkey approach can be seen among people. Some people worsen the problem and then blame the fate. Getting trapped in quick sand can be called bad luck, but worsening the situation to death is ones own foolishness.
Always the problem should be seen and analyzed from the background they exist to see what action has to be taken. Every action should have the following objectives viz.,
In quick sand, the first effort should be to save oneself from being drown into the bottom. Only after ensuring the primary safety, the option of how to escape should be explored. This subtle distinction, the mules appear to have known.
A mule is wiser than what the corporate world know of a mule. Learn the management insight from the mules and be 'solution centric' than be 'struggle centric'. Managing the struggle and not damaging the opportunity by struggle is what mules convey to man.
Dear corporate, learn from mule and be a mule sometime, but see the solution first and not the struggle as your best weapon. Also learn to conquer the fear and do it not with courage but with calmness. By being calm only the dominance of the emotions, both the fear and strength can be managed.
Do a deep introspection and find out whether you are operating like a donkey or a mule in the corporate?
Dr S Ranganathan, ClinRise Derma Pvt., Ltd., Chennai
Learn more from the management books
1. Jungle wisdom for corporate management – lessons from the university of nature by Swami Sukhabodhananda and Dr S Ranganathan
2. Nature – the entrepreneur by Dr S Ranganathan
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