How Not to Be Defeated by a Horsefly

How Not to Be Defeated by a Horsefly

"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."—Rom. 12:21

Many years ago when I was a boy, one of my best friends had four legs. No, he was not a dog but a horse.

Old Bob, as we called him, was our family horse. He was a horse of many parts. We rode him to the swimming hole, two, three, and sometimes four boys perched on his back. He pulled the wooden sled built especially for him.

And he pulled the plows and harrows that we used to break and cultivate the ground. He and I plowed many, many rows of corn, potatoes, beans, and almost every other vegetable you can mention. We spent a great many months together, old Bob and I.

One thing that annoyed me very much was the horsefly. And if this pesky creature annoyed me, how much more did it annoy old Bob! For horseflies are more apt to light on horses than human beings, naturally.

I could fight them off with my hands, but poor Bob was hitched to the plow and had little chance at these vicious insects, as large as the end of your thumb and with a terrible bite. They would often leave a spot of blood where they had bitten my friend.

Naturally I would stop plowing and try to kill the horseflies. Any decent master would.

But I soon found that if I tried to kill every horsefly that came along, no plowing got done. Sometimes I could switch at them with the cotton plowline as we went along the rows.

So despite my pity for my friend Bob I found it necessary to plow right along despite the flies, stopping now and then when one was just right for swatting and letting him have it.

But if I waited until all the flies were gone, then no plowing was done.

You will discover in your life that when you try to do some worthwhile task, you'll never lack for annoyances. There will always be people who'll say, "He can't do it!" or, "Why bother?" Every great leader has had his share of human horse­flies who didn't help but simply got in the way.

Some individuals pay more attention to the irritations, hindrances, and hardships of life than they do to their own ideals, aims, and dreams. They fight little petty fights and stop to feud with people instead of pursuing their goals. Suppose big-league ball players began to talk back to every loud-mouthed razzer in the stands? But they don't. Their job is to play ball, not argue with the grandstands.

Someday you may be involved in a great project. It so, know what you must do, plan for it, and do it. Don't be distracted by anybody who wants to criticize but not help.

It is not easy to remain silent or keep right on when you feel irritated to the point of striking back. Not easy but essential.

I found this out by trying to ignore the horseflies—that old Bob and I got each job done and swatted quite a few of the little beasts on the way. But we never stopped work just to fight them.

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