Think long term (the story of the Buridan donkey)

Carlotta Cerri

Do you know the story of Buridan's donkey? The donkey stood halfway between a stack of hay and a water trough. It couldn't decide whether to drink or eat first, and so eventually it died of hunger and thirst.

Today this story made me think of us parents.

We are often stuck between who we want to be and our perception of who we are (often failing).

To be the parent we want to be, we must look at ourselves and embrace personal evolution. To change the failing perception of ourselves we must look at our children and accept who they are. Both of these processes require action. Yet we often stand still, unsure which direction to go first.

And we don't realize that there is no need to choose, because there is no first.

Evolution is not linear, it doesn't have a pre-established order, it doesn't have an ideal path. We can begin to change communication and behavior with our children and soon we find ourselves in front of a mirror, to forgive ourselves. Or we can start a journey within ourselves and soon we're standing in front of our children, to welcome them.

In the end we go through all those roads, sooner or later it doesn't matter, because in the long run we arrive anyway. If you feel stuck (on any decision), long-term thinking is the solution.

If Buridan's donkey had had the ability to think long-term, it'd have first drunk the water, then eaten the hay—or viceversa, because either action would have kept it alive and given it the possibility to do the other one, too.

Don't be like Buridan's donkey. Think long term. Use the future. Get started today.

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