We’ve all heard the old chestnuts about how, if you synchronize your heifers you can just about count on a blizzard when the due date arrives; or the tractor tire will go flat, and the auger belt or water line always break just as the sun is setting. Then there’s the one about how the market will drop the week you schedule to take calves to town, or your top-ratio heifer won’t start calving until it’s time for you to be somewhere important.
Yes, Murphy’s Law is confirmed almost daily in the cattle business.
But there are also those times when the universe truly does align, when that low-birthweight, high-gaining, good-looking calf delivers a tremendous ultrasound and the DNA makes him into a rock star. Or, and I actually had this happen, you have 50 calves born in a three-day window in February and it’s nothing but sunshine and 60-degree weather.
I realize that problems arise and they must be fixed, but there is something inherently wrong about always fixating on the negative. Celebrating the positives is what makes life wonderful.
From a management perspective, it’s easy to focus on everything that goes wrong. After all, the problems generally offer the most hindrance to success. But we all have those moments when the universe aligns, the hired man identifies and solves a problem, one of your kids says something wonderfully mature and thoughtful, your wife smiles at you for no reason, and not a single calf is born when the temperature drops to 4 degrees and 40-mph winds.
Of course, all of these instances are temporal in nature. I believe strongly that there’s an even broader alignment and that is when you are truly in line with the purpose that God intended for you, when you have a dream and you are pursuing it, when you have your priorities properly aligned, and the people closes to you know that you love them.
If you have that type of faith, knowledge and commitment, then the difficulties become opportunities, work becomes play, and stumbles merely propel you forward. I’ve known people throughout my life that lived this lifestyle on a consistent basis. Yet, I’m sure many of you are also like me, people that have moved in and out of alignment with these very simple basic laws of the universe.
I don’t think those universal laws are hard to discover, but they also fill hundreds of self-help books. Here is my CliffsNotes-style version of them – my nine guidelines for a better, more fulfilling life.
- Work hard and pray even harder.
- Every day, have hope, faith, love and discipline.
- Cry occasionally and laugh often. Laugh hard once a day.
- Focus on others’ success.
- Be an optimist. Celebrate failures and difficulties – they are mileposts on the road to success.
- Dream big, then sit down and force yourself to dream even bigger.
- Always be reading a good book.
- Always find time to be with a friend or family.
- Find three things to be passionate about, and then express that passion.
Admittedly, this is a cryptic list. But budget some time this week to sit down and spend a few minutes ruminating on these and how you can incorporate them into your life. I think you’ll be glad you did.
The opinions of Troy Marshall are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com and the Penton Agriculture Group.
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