Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How you approach it matters...

One day we installed an automatic gate on the main dirt road into the ranch. Everyone was tired of getting out of the truck, having to open the old metal gate, each time you went somewhere. A cattle guard was considered, but in the end, the automatic gate was deemed appropriate.
The better part of a day was spent installing components that went with the gate in order to have it open automatically. There had to be a sensor buried in the road each direction, a master box which controlled the mechanical workings of the gate when it received a signal from the sensor and a solar panel to provide electricity to the whole works. 
Once completed, it worked beautifully. We were proud of the mechanical wonder created,  in spite of us being a bunch of cowboys, better suited for dealing with animals. In order to get the marvel open, you simply drove within about fifty feet of the gate and the sensor under the road would feel the weight of the vehicle and tell the master box to open ‘er up. Once through, the other sensor would feel the weight and tell the thing it was ok to close. Now that’s plumb handy.
Most everyone got the hang of it right away. Although the sensors under the dirt road were not marked, you just kind of knew where they were. Kind of felt it, you might say. There was one ol’ boy however who always complained he had trouble with not knowing exactly where the things were.
He would drive tentatively up to where he thought the sensors were and then start second guessing himself that he may have missed it, or that he had driven too slowly and they did not sense the weight of his vehicle. So he’d go back and forth several times before finally getting the gate to open. Then he’d be scared the thing was going to shut on him before he got clear so he would race through and worry that he had gone to fast over the second sensor for it to read the weight and that it may not close. This gate situation really worried him.
On the other hand, there was a feller who had studied the gate and knew the exact speed at which you could go and not have to slow down while it opened. He scared the heck out of the first guy (and a few others as well) by going at the gate without slowing down as it went through its motions of opening. However, it always opened, just enough, and just in the nick of time. His timing was perfect.
One day, the first guy was driving, and as he approached the gate, we all started giving him a hard time about not being able to drive, being scared of an ol’ gate, etc.. The second guy made him stop the truck well before we got there however and this is what he did:
He said, “If you will go at that gate at seven miles per hour, without fear, and don’t flinch or weaken, it will open for you like the parting of the Red Sea. Put all your fears aside and just trust in it - it WILL happen.” He went on to say, “Now this ol‘ road here is just like the trail of life. From time to time you’ll come upon closed gates in your way. If you go at them with confidence, steady-like, knowing that you have a good plan for opening them and that it WILL work; you’ll come through like a champ. On the other hand, people who approach life’s gates (obstacles) with fear and worry and tentatively go back and forth, here and there, rarely come out winners.” He concluded with, “Now listen here, you can start to be a winner in life right here and now, but it takes commitment. Think of that gate as the world opening up for you and be confident that the plan you have laid will work. Don’t be skeered and don’t weaken. I know it’s in ya’.”
I always remember that little incident when obstacles get in life’s pathway. I want to be the kind of person who boldly approaches the gate (problem) knowing that if I implement a solid plan it will cede the road to me. I then forge ahead, boldly, confidently knowing that no matter what, I can make problems in life work to my benefit. Kinda like that gate in the pasture, it can work for you and help you, or it can hinder and worry you. It’s all in how you approach it.

Monday, July 16, 2012

I believe in this...

"Never give up. Never ever give up. Why? Because just when you are about to give up is when things are about to turn around in a grand way. Hold on. Great things are waiting for you around the corner."
-Sonia Ricotti

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Your ideas don't work unless you do…

     I used to work with this feller, I’ll call him Einstein. Well ol’ Einstein always had a bigger and better idea on how to reinvent the wheel. Any time we had a job to do, he’d spend a whole bunch of time figuring out ways to do it easier. Most times he was just trying to figure how to get out of work. Some of the time, he would come up with an idea on how to do it easier, but would spend more time thinking about it and talking about it than it took to just do it. However, once in a while, he really had a good idea.
     One day we were laying water pipeline to a new drinker in a rough pasture…and I don’t mean above ground. We were burying it two feet deep to keep it from freezing in the winter. It was about a mile project - and mean work. We went right on with it, figuring the best way to git 'er done - was to just get done with it. As usual, Einstein hung back and studied on it a bit. After considerable time had passed, he had this bright idea on how we could do this process with less effort. We told him to get busy and implement his idea...it just might work.
     Ol’ Einstein pumped up with pride at the thought of us actually liking one of his ideas. He bragged about how great it was gonna be, how he would save everyone some work and how he'd thought of it all by himself. He was still talking about it when we finished the pipeline later that day. He was still bragging about his idea that night at the bunkhouse. By then, he was even talking about patenting it…no, seriously! 
     Finally, one ol’ cowhand who had seen a few miles in his time, and usually made a lot of sense, looked at Einstein, spat in disgust, then said, “Yer ideas don’t work less you do.” Truer words had never been laid upon Einstein before. We laughed heartily at the expense of our embarrassed compadre, but that old puncher had shore-nuff said a mouthful!

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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