If at first you don’t succeed . . .
Persistence. That’s the lesson of an animal rescue shown in a video of unknown provenance, most likely recorded in Southeast Asia, that appeared on the Internet toward the end of 2014.
As the video opens, we see that a small tawny-haired, yelping dog had somehow fallen into a well. Rescuers are lowering a rope into the water. The pooch has only one way to escape — by grabbing the rope with her teeth. Which she does.
Nine out of ten times, though, she can’t hold on long enough for a rescuer to grab her and pull her out. She keeps dropping back into the water.
But the tenth time proves the charm. Some combination of dog-learning and human-learning results at last in a successful retrieval. The dog has done the only thing it could do to save itself, and kept doing it until it worked.
The advice to “keep trying” is regularly balanced with the advice to know when to “cut your losses.” But, often, it’s neither possible nor advisable to cut our losses no matter how tough things get. Switch strategies, maybe. But not give up.
We can’t conclude, for example, that “this U.S. government thing is not working out, let’s cut our losses.” We just have to keep working to reform its institutions and policies no matter how often we get flung back into the well. It’s the only way we win.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.