There once was an introverted little donkey named Kurt.

When Kurt was a young, up-and-coming corporate donkey he used to try to fit in with his donkey colleagues.

He attended donkey shindigs and chatted lots of donkey talk. If he wanted to leave a party early and the other donkeys stopped him, he agreed to stay. He always tried to be nice and go along with what the other donkeys encouraged him to do.

But poor Kurt felt exhausted and miserable. He did not enjoy himself. He tried not to let it show, but inside he wanted to bray and bray and bray.

After a while Kurt couldn’t keep it in any longer and he became a very cranky little donkey. The other donkeys did not like this.

Why so crotchety Kurt? they asked. What’s with the resting jennet face? Why are you always in a mood?

What was Kurt to do? He wanted to get along with his colleagues so he decided to take a little time out and calm himself down.

He spent time alone. He said no to donkey parties and avoided donkey chit-chat.

Instead, he read donkey books (Donkey Juan) and watched donkey shows (Game of Mules) and ate donkey snacks (Burroitos). He even tried his hoof at some very fine donkey calligraphy.

He still spent time with his closest donkey pals, Herb and Lamont. And he texted with a cute girl-donkey he liked, Clarissa. No donkey pics though, for Kurt was a gentle donkey.

Soon he felt better and happier. He was much less cranky. His resting jennet face was gone.

However, some of the other donkeys were not pleased. They thought he should not spend so much time at home.

What’s wrong Kurt? they asked. You should come out of your donkey shell. You need to get out more. 

Little Kurt pondered this dilemma.

If he didn’t get enough time to himself he felt unhappy.

If he did get enough time to himself the other donkeys were not happy.

Kurt realised he couldn’t be happy and also make all the other donkeys happy – he had to choose.

So he chose what made him happy.

He chose to listen to his own little donkey heart and spend time alone, time with his pals, and only a little time going to donkey shindigs.

He chose to leave the parties he did attend early by slipping out quietly, which is not easy to do when you’re a donkey and your tail tends to wipe out entire trays of canapés and also smash delicate light fittings.

After a while the donkeys reacted to this new Kurt.

Some of the donkeys judged Kurt and claimed he must hate donkeys. They brayed behind his back and didn’t invite him to things out of spite. They didn’t get the irony.

Some of the donkeys understood Kurt and were happy to enjoy his company when he was around. They realised that just as they liked noise and people and socialising, he liked quiet and solitude and close friends.

Some of the donkeys felt emboldened by Kurt, and decided to be more true to themselves as well. Mavis adjusted her tool belt and declared:I like jennets! (The other donkeys tried to look surprised.) Steve left the company to pursue his true passion, studying pharmacology (he’d always wanted to be a drug mule).

The moral of this story is that no matter what you do, someone will think you’re an ass.

But you may as well be a happy ass.

Which means you need to find your own balance and respect your inner donkey self. And that can be done very well from inside your donkey shell.