Tuesday, June 26, 2012

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right…

     When I was a young cowboy, full of knowledge (at least I thought so) …ok…full of mischief and full of myself; I worked on a large ranch between Milnesand and Crossroads, New Mexico. Not much more than wide spots in the road - either of them. It was desolate and it was cowboy country.
     One project I worked on that summer was building a new barbed wire fence to separate one big ol’ pasture in two. I did not like the work. Pounding steel posts into the ground with a ten-pound driver in hundred-degree weather was not my idea of romance. After all, I’d hired on to COWBOY! Although I did my job, I let it be known I figured the work was beneath me. I performed without enthusiasm.
     One day, the boss came by and watched me for a while. He then got out of his pickup and grabbed a post driver and went to work right there beside me. The first post, he drove in much quicker than I. Believing he would run out of steam from showing off pretty quick, I quietly smirked under my breath. Let’s see if he runs out of energy in a bit, I thought. He didn’t.
     For the next several posts, he drove in about two to my one. I then thought, “I’ll show him!” I was young and tough and in great shape and I went to pounding posts with a spirit of competition and enthusiasm! There was no way I was going to let a guy who spent more time driving around in a pickup than doing physical labor out-work me…I’d show him.
     We worked side by side for the next hour or more without saying a word…just driving in post after post in harmonious rhythm. Before long, I had a smile on my face and was enjoying the unspoken competition going on. Eventually, the boss stopped and grabbed a jug of cold water, offering me a drink. I took it. Water never tasted so sweet as it did that hot summer day with sweat pouring down my neck and muscles twitching from exertion. Without saying a word, he looked back along the long line of posts we had just driven in and smiled a smile of great satisfaction. I looked as well, out of curiosity over what he was smiling about. Every post we had just driven in together was straight as a string and equal in height. Perfect! The posts from my earlier work farther down the line were not quite as…perfect. I grinned. I knew.
     He was a very busy feller and did not have time to spend out there on the flat pounding posts in the ground. After all, that is why he hired guys like me; He had more important things to do. So it was no surprise when he turned to his truck to leave. Before he got in, he slowly looked around and spoke his first words since arriving. He simply drawled, “If it’s worth doin’, it’s worth doin’ right.” He nodded at me and drove off.
     I finished that fence a week or so later. The last portion of it was noticeably finer than the first. Not better necessarily, the part I built first would separate cattle just the same as the second part, but the second part looked like someone with pride - pride in what they do - had built it.
     I learned more about work ethic, ego, try, pride and life that afternoon than in any other period of my life consisting of the same time frame. I had a whole new respect for the boss and a new outlook on life…and during the whole lesson; he’d only spoke eight simple words. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Borrowed from a friend...

There are many people who think they are wealthy and are not. We’ve seen the television series “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” Most times it should be called “Lifestyles of the Rich and Foolish.”  When is a rich man poor? When he tries to find satisfaction in his money. Solomon, one of the wisest (and richest) men who ever lived, said, “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver” (Ecclesiastes 5:10). 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dream big, work hard...

We are only as big as we allow ourselves to be. Anyone can have big dreams and wish to be a great success someday, but the wheat gets separated from the chaff when the winds of failure start to blow. The real test in finding out whether you will reach your goals or not comes when you have to dig a little deeper than the rest and try a little harder than you once thought possible.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Branding irons and love...

At times, thoughts and experiences from the past hinder us from enjoying the present. Our minds are in the habit of labeling experiences: good, bad, ugly, beautiful, safe, dangerous, happy, got bucked off, burned, etc.. This can work for us and teach us; for example, we learn a branding iron is hot and can burn so we "label" it as "dangerous" and avoid it. However, only a small part of it is dangerous, and only in certain situations (when it's heated up). We know that.
In many life experiences however, this instinct to label holds us back. We do not label the whole iron as "bad" just because a small part of it can be - but many fail to enjoy the present because they are too busy labeling it or living with a jaded view.
Just because you got "burned" once does not mean you should completely avoid a thing again. Negative emotions about the past may no longer be relevant at this moment. By viewing experiences as negative and approaching them with a sour attitude, you may be failing to give yourself a chance at enjoying the here and now. The past is gone, there is nothing you can do about it but learn from it...then file it away and do not dwell on it.
THIS moment is ALL you really have, why taint it with worries about the past...or the future? Just as you learned how to handle a branding iron and make it work for you without getting "burned," you can apply this to your life as well. Love, for example, can bite you or love can excite you - you have the choice to look at it, and use it, one way or the other. Robbing yourself of the enjoyment of THIS moment because of something that happened in the past is like never marking your cattle again because you once got burned!
Remember to enjoy the experience for what it is; a new moment, unfolding in front of your eyes, full of wonderful possibilities! Love! Live! Enjoy!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Jump in with both feet...

Today I bail into the river of life with great expectations! I believe a good, strong current will take me in the right direction; an exciting, prosperous direction. I trust in God to watch over my trip.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

You can see into the future...

Dreams are previews of the future you can create. Everything begins with a thought, so think/dream BIG!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Something to think about...

Question for the day; fill in the blank:
In order to begin experiencing a more fulfilling life, I need to _____________.
Now, when do I begin?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Life's current...

Life is like a river and most cling to the bank, afraid to let go and see where life will take 'em. We cling to supposed security there on the sidelines while the current of life passes right on by. If your waiting for just the right moment, guess what, that moment is NOW! Let go and see where the river will take ya!

All trails open...

Pard, your current position does not limit where you can go...it only determines from where you must start!

About Me

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Jim Olson is a ranch-raised cowboy, author and entrepreneur. Growing up on the high plains of eastern New Mexico he learned to ride young colts, tend to cattle and drive heavy farm equipment at an early age. 

Jim spent a few years competing in the calf roping event at the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association level, qualifying for the circuit finals a few times. He lives on and operates a ranch near Stanfield, Arizona, once a part of John Wayne’s Red River Ranch, and also owns Western Trading Post, dealing in Cowboy and Indian collectibles. 

These great life experiences Jim now uses in his writing career. He writes stories about interesting and extraordinary people of the west including short stories of both fiction and nonfiction. He has a monthly column titled “Cowboy Heroes,” published by several Southwestern and national magazines. Jim has written three books and is working on other projects as well. He can be reached via the web: www.JimOlsonAuthor.com 


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