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Born to Persevere

Posted by TestOut Staff on

If there's one animal that we associate with stubbornness, it would definitely be the, um, male donkey. (Yes, smart guy, there's another word for that.) Some might say "mule," and indeed the word "mulish" is defined as "resembling or likened to a mule in being stubborn." A mule is technically the offspring of a, er, male donkey and a female horse, so donkeys and mules are not really the same thing, but both are legendarily stubborn.

We bring this up, of course, on account of the fact that today, Oct. 26, is National Mule Day. And really, if you think about, mules deserve a little recognition. Most of the time, if we think of them at all, it's to reflect on how much more stuff we could probably load onto the family mule before setting out to go up into the mountains and pan for gold. Mules are also known for carrying things (and people) down into and back up out of the Grand Canyon.

So, yeah, mules put up with a lot of human-inflicted nonsense about being a beast of burden and schlepping heavy stuff over uncomfortable trails in hard-to-get-to places. Is it any wonder that they're stubborn? Practically the only time a mule gets any attention at all from a human person is when there's some degree or other of schlepping to be done. After a while, you'd probably get tired of being locked into continual schleppage as well.

Of course, though we often think of stubbornness in the sense of refusing to be treated badly, or being intolerant of conflicting opinions (or even facts), there are other ways (and means) of being stubborn. People who refuse to give up, who persevere in spite of hardship and failure, are also described as being stubborn. We typically characterize Not Knowing When to Quit as being destructive, but sometimes we celebrate such tenacity and stick-to-itiveness.

(Incidentally: Some dictionaries now include "stick-to-itiveness" as an actual noun. Isn't language a wonderful thing?)

The point is that stubbornness can be an admirable trait. When it comes to IT training and certification, the bar that indicates "success" can be extremely high.  Learners often don't clear it on their first attempt, or even their second or third. Sometimes you just have to stick to it and push through, like a mule stubbornly climbing up the long trail out of the Grand Canyon. So don't give up! And have a Happy National Mule Day.

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