Have you ever been told you were stubborn as a mule? Did you say thank you? There a few times when I think that should be a compliment.
If success could be characterized as an animal, what would it resemble? A lion? A peacock? A primate? A bulldog? In order to be successful, you have to persevere. You have to forge through the rough waters and difficult terrain. You have to ignore the obvious signs to quit. You have to be stubborn and obstinate. You have to be like a mule.
Note to the men out there that are struggling with using a descriptive animal comparison for a successful female athlete you know. I don’t recommend doing this. Animals are great and all, but when referring to a woman as a specific type of animal because you are convinced she is as fast as a cheetah since she sped by you on the track, please proceed with caution. Women don’t always enjoy to be compared to an animal. I am speaking from experience.
As a female professional cyclist, I will often compete with the professional or elite men locally to challenge myself and get quality training. This of course opens the doors for the comments from the men that I am as strong as a horse, or I have the velocity of a truck. I love horses and trucks, yet I doubt this comment was implying a svelte thoroughbred. I can only imagine they were thinking of something like a draft horse carrying a heavy load through challenging conditions. And don’t get me started on being compared to a truck, I have never heard of a truck being sleek. Trucks are sexy, but I am not sure I want to remind you of an extra wide dually with powerful towing capacity, no matter how successful you think I am. Once again gentlemen, be very cautious when comparing a woman to anything, especially animals, because we will probably assume the worst.
That being said, I have to admit that I also have been told I was being as stubborn and bullheaded as a mule. Yet through recognizing and achieving success while pressing forward in all paths of life, the only reason that I am still able to compete and be successful is that I can be quite mulish. In order to be successful, you have to be sure in your steps and navigation in order to follow the right path. You have to stay true to yourself and to the course. If someone tells me that I can’t do something, I want to work twice as hard to prove them wrong. I have often written my goals down and placed them in prominent locations in my house in order to hold myself accountable. I have broken bones, bruised my mind, and deflated my heart, yet I have continued to persevere. The only way you will find success is to not give up trying, and this entire process will guarantee to give you success, even if it is in another way than you imagined. Although you may need to train to be as a powerful as a bull and then gain experience to use that strength to become smart like a tractor, you will still need to be as stubborn as a mule in order to succeed. Success is found in resilience and unwavering will. Success is found within being like a mule.
Set your goals with courage, and be willing to be like a mule. You may need to put blinders on to focus so specifically at your target that you can’t see anything else but the end of the trail. This way, you will not be distracted and you will overcome the obstacles in your path. Success is perseverance, and sometimes the only thing that allows us to continue is our own mulish nature. Maybe there is a little mule in all of us, and perhaps being obstinate isn’t always a negative trait. You can still be a race horse too, but when you need to, let yourself be as stubborn as a mule. Know when you have to be flexible and take a detour, but also know when you have to strive ahead. There is a time and place to be flexible, but perseverance will always lead towards success.
Next time someone says you are as stubborn as a mule while you are working towards your goals, say thank you. It can be a compliment. Just don’t call me a truck.