A wild horse was well respected in the herd of horses, but it was very unhappy and depressed. The wild horse was envious of the zebras which are naturally blessed with beautiful black stripes all over their body. The horse spent sleepless nights wondering how it could get a beautiful body like the zebras.
The horse spoke to many other animals to see if they had an idea of how it could get zebra-like stripes but they all laughed off the idea. The horse then went to seek the advice of a monkey who was the best scholar, artist and beautician of the forest.
The monkey led the horse to a place where a wildfire had just burnt down several trees. Using the pieces of charcoal from the burnt wood, the monkey painted fine stripes on the body of the horse. The horse’s joy knew no bounds, this was the day it was waiting for all its life. Having admired the beauty himself, he thanked the monkey and joined a group of zebras who accepted him without a doubt.
The horse was enjoying the moments of looking like a zebra, and the best part was that no one realised that it was a horse. Soon, as they were grazing together, a heavy rainfall occurred. The painted ‘zebra' was in great trouble. The stripes of charcoal dissolved in the rain and created a dirty mess. The stripes lost their outline. The zebras found the truth and at once rejected the horse. The horse ran away with a disfigured body.
He came to his own herd who were reluctant to accept him seeing his weird appearance. Dejected and depressed, he approached the monkey who created the stripes and requested him to do something as he was neither here nor there.
The monkey led him to a stream and washed his body, rubbing hard with the husk of a coconut. Having restored his natural appearance, the horse watched his appearance in the still water. He said to himself, "I am really beautiful!"
Stay true to yourself: Be yourself at all times, say what you want to say and do what you want to do - as long as you do not hurt others - because those who don’t understand you don’t matter and those who matter would understand you.
You are not meant to be the perception of others: Never allow yourself to be defined by others opinions or perceptions. Be candid, be honest and truthful to yourself, not that others don’t matter but because you matter the most.
Compete with yourself: When you are in competition with others, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but when you compete with yourself, you always get better, better than who you were and better than what you were.