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How To Realise Your Dreams aka The Deaf Frog

One day two frogs were hopping in and out of watering holes and accidentally hopped into a deep one. They tried to leap out, hopping up and down, to no avail. The hole was just too deep. They began to croak loudly hoping to catch the attention of other frogs.

Sometime later, as their croaking was becoming croakier, a few other frogs found them. Upon inspection they concluded that the hole was just too deep for them to help, and told the frogs stuck in the hole to just give up and die. There was just no hope of getting them out, they said.

But the 2 frogs in the hole kept on hopping up and down still hoping to get out of the hole. They hopped up and down for hours until one of the frogs gave up and died of exhaustion.

The other frog in the hole kept on hopping up and down while the frogs outside of the hole kept on telling him to just give up.

Finally, the frog leapt high enough to grab edge of the hole and with his back legs dragged himself out.

The other frogs surrounded him, congratulating him, and asked him why he hadn’t given up. The escapee frog looked at his contemporaries with a smile and thanked them for egging him on to hop higher and higher until he was able to get out of the hole.

“But we weren’t encouraging you, we were telling you to give up!” they said.

“Whaaaat?” the frog shouted, “I can’t hear you…I’m deaf…!


History is full of people who were told to give up on a dream because someone thought it was impossible. But the realisation of your dreams is all up to you.

The first thing you have to do is to keep your passion burning by having a clear purpose. Purpose is what gets you up from bed in the morning. Most people know that Walt Disney was fired from his first job because his editor felt he lacked imagination and had no good ideas. But he didn’t let this get in his way. Purpose needs to come from deep inside you because purpose ignites passion. He turned a deaf ear.

Then you have to commit to yourself, to the belief in your awesomeness and that you can change the world. Self-belief will carry you through the tough times. I came across a quote, by whom I don’t know because it wasn’t attributed, that “Butterflies can’t see their wings. They can’t see how beautiful they are, but everyone else can. People are like that.” Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first television job as an anchor in Baltimore for getting “too emotionally invested in her stories.” She turned a deaf ear.

Lastly, see every failure as a learning. There is no failure only feedback. See the world as a system of interrelated elements constantly giving and receiving feedback. Develop a learning mindset. When something doesn’t go as planned, reflect on that, inspect factually on what went well and what can be improved, and adapt your response. Have you heard of the Powermac g4 cube? What about Macintosh TV? Ok, maybe you’re getting to where I’m going with this. What about the Apple III and the Apple Lisa? They were some of Steve Jobs’s greatest failures. The reason you probably don’t know them is because all you know is the iPod, the iPad and the iPhone. If not for those failures I would probably be using a Nokia phone right now. He turned a deaf ear.

Behind most success stories, are stories of failure. And sometimes you have to turn a deaf ear when other people try to tell you that something is impossible.


A young illiterate man dreamt of learning to read and write. He need money to be able to go to school so he decided to apply for a job, working as a janitor in a school. When the recruitment manager saw that the young man couldn’t read or write he turned him down for the job.

So the young man, desperate to make some money, borrowed some cash and started selling fruit and vegetables on the street corner. His business grew and before long he owned a chain of shops and became very rich.

One day he went to the bank to deposit some money. As he signed the deposit slip with an “x” the bank manager says, “ You have done so well with no education. Imagine how much better you’d have done if you’d gone to school!”

“Oh,” replied the man, “I’d be a janitor!”

Note to the reader:

I delivered this as a speech to my Toastmasters club, part of my Advanced Communicator Silver speaking level, which I am currently busy with. I have completed 2 out of 10 speech assignments. I am working with the manual Humorously Speaking because it is an area that I need to get better at  – bringing humour to my speeches :-). The criteria were to speak about a serious topic, and to start and end the speech with funny stories – the first story introduces the serious topic, and the closing story reinforces it. I hope you have enjoyed my contribution.

It was written with the help of the Toastmasters manual mentioned above.

There are many stories of the deaf frog on the internet, with many variations. I have elaborated the one here slightly. I was not able to find who wrote it originally. Lack of attribution is not intentional. Should you reading this know who coined the original please let me know and I will attribute it here.