I had the good fortune of watching the show Cavalia, which displayed horses in action, all well-trained and well-groomed, as well as wonderful acrobats whose energy, courage, and flexibility was simply awe-inspiring.
Watching the horses reminded me of two quotations.
The first was a quotation of the late Dr Goh Keng Swee which I mention in my book “The Leader, The Teacher & You.” Dr Goh was Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister, who had variously been Minister of Finance, Defence, and Education. He had said, “It is better to have stallions, which we occasionally have to pull back, than to have donkeys you have to kick to move.”
What Dr Goh looked for was energy, initiative, and imagination. Many supervisors will tell you what they want are people with energy, initiative, and imagination, but in reality, they feel threatened by people who have different views from theirs, and thus discourage or diminish those who carry bad news or make mistakes. Those who expect to harness the power and muscle of stallions must be self-confident, open-minded, intellectually honest, and also humble.
The second quotation is from the book Jeremiah in the Bible. It goes, “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?”
This is a call not to grow weary but to persevere and to be resilient in the face of difficulties and setbacks. If we would learn from failure, that is how we grow in wisdom and understanding, courage and resourcefulness – dump the fat and grow the muscle.