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Dakota Indians1211The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from one generation to the next, says that when you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

However, in modern business, because of the heavy investment factors to be taken into consideration, often other strategies have to be tried with dead horses, including the following:

1. Buying a stronger whip.

2. Changing riders.

3. Threatening the horse with termination.

4. Appointing a committee to study the horse.

5. Arranging to visit other sites to see how they ride dead horses.

6. Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.

7. Reclassifying the dead horse as living-impaired.

8. Change the form so that it reads: "This horse is not dead."

9. Hire outside contractors to ride the dead horse.

10. Harness several dead horses together for increased speed.

11. Donate the dead horse to a recognized charity, thereby deducting its full original cost.

12. Providing additional funding to increase the horse's performance.

13. Do a time management study to see if the lighter riders would improve productivity.

14. Declare that a dead horse has lower overhead and therefore performs better.

15. Promote the dead horse to a supervisory position.

(author unknown)

We've all done it before -- committed a significant amount of time and energy to a particular project (or even a person) only to find that all our effort was to no avail. But we find it difficult to cut our losses and move on, so we keep trying and keep trying, pouring more and more of ourselves into it, all the while taking away resources that could be spent on something more profitable.

As difficult as it may be at times to do, the Dakota Indians were right -- when you find you are riding a dead horse, the only sensible thing to do is to dismount.

Jesus put it this way: "Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces." (Matthew 7:6)

Jesus was saying that there may come a time when we need to realize that we are wasting our time and energy trying to reach someone who has shown a total disregard for God and the things of God. We dare not reach such a conclusion too quickly (many of us are thankful for others who refused to give up on us), but once you become convinced you're riding a dead horse, there's only one sensible thing to do.

Take a look at how you're spending your time. If you're "spinning your wheels" and not making any progress, make sure that the horse you're riding is still alive.

Alan Smith