Daily Dose of Coach #428: Shake It Off

"There are times in everyone's life when something constructive is born out of adversity...when things seem so bad that you've got to grab your fate by the shoulders and shake it." Anon.

There was an old mule who lived on a farm. One day as the mule was admiring a perfect day, slowly strolling through the green meadow when he slipped and fell into the farmer's well. When the farmer found him, weighed the situation, and decided neither the well nor the mule was worth saving.

Reluctantly, the farmer called his friends to help him carry loads of sand to bury both the well and the mule.

As the farmer and his friends started shoveling sand into the well, the mule could not believe it! How could he do this?!? How could he be at one moment strolling through a beautiful meadow and the next being buried alive?!?

Scared and frantic, the mule took in a deep breath and gathered his thoughts.

He told himself he was not going to die like this, and decided, every time a shovel of dirt landed on his back, he would shake it off and use the sand to step up!

Over and over again, the mule would say to himself, "Shake it off and step up...Shake it off and step up."

Staying positive and repeating these words to himself helped him to remain calm and focused. As time went by, the mule eventually got to a point where he leaped over the well wall. Exhausted, he persevered, saving his life in the process.

Life will attempt to bury. Sometimes you see it coming, sometimes you don't.


When it happens, it's easy to take the stance that you're doomed. It is only during these times do you see what you're made of.


The competitor chooses absolute commitment to endure. The coward elects to give up.

Coach Lou Holtz states, "If you don't make a total commitment to whatever you're doing, then you start looking to bail out the first time the boat starts leaking. It's tough enough getting the boat to shore with everybody rowing, let alone when a guy stands up and starts putting his life jacket on."

Getting through difficulties is about understanding where you want to go and committing 100% to take every difficult step through it.

Get determined. Like the mule, with every shovel of dirt that's poured on your head, shake it off and use it to keep stepping up.