Friday, August 3, 2012

Continue to learn...

Long ago there was a feller who spent some time learning how to shoe horses. When he felt properly trained, and considered his education complete, he bought brand new shoeing equipment and set out across the west, visiting ranchers and farmers, eager to be successful in his new career. 
The first day, he shod twenty head! Made more money than he'd ever seen at one time before. He became inspired to do more - and make more! As he moved about the county, from place to place, he kept working harder and harder. Became more determined each day to be a success; there was a problem however. 
Each day, although he put in more hours, even to the point of working from first light to last, he was gradually completing fewer and fewer shoeing jobs. Within a few weeks time, he could only get about half as many horses done as in the beginning, even though he worked twice as hard.
Distraught over this dilemma, he asked a wise, respected and successful old rancher if there was any advice for him. “Why the heck am I working so hard, but seem like I'm losing ground?” lamented the shoer. After observing the shoer for a while, the rancher commented, “When was the last time you sharpened your tools?” He then pointed out a very dull set of nippers, knife and a worn out rasp, to the over worked horseshoer. The man replied he did not know how to sharpen those things, it was not part of his original training and it would be some time before he would be back near a town to buy new ones or have them sharpened by someone else.
The rancher said to him, “Why don’t you take a little time off and learn how to sharpen them so you can do it yourself between towns?” The shoer replied, “Oh, I work way to much as it is now. I can’t take time off to learn something like that, when would my work get done if I went back to learning!”
Some folk just can’t see the forrest for the trees. The man completely missed the wise rancher’s point. By taking a day off to go learn something new to help him in his trade, he would save himself a lot of time in the long run and make more money to boot. Work ethic alone will not do it in most cases. We all need to work smarter as well as harder. Take time to sharpen your tools (especially the mind).

Check out towel racks made out of horseshoes...

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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: 


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