The famous jockey, Tony McCoy said, “Horses are like people – they have different personalities. They can be nice, friendly and hard-working, or awkward, difficult and lazy. If horses were people some would be entrepreneurs and others would be on the dole.”
I have 4 quarter horses on Keyhole Ranch: Sun Dunn Diamond Wolf, Tall Man, Trigger and Dark Meat. It is a working cattle ranch, so at least weekly during the summer and fall, my horses are ridden or used to pack salt or equipment and tools for clearing trail, improving springs for water, etc. Plus, when gathering cows in the fall, we always have a fresh horse each day to ride. Our range is big and has some rough country, so on the days we go, we ride several miles.
Sun Dunn Diamond Wolf is the smallest of the 4 but is tough. He has a smooth, fast walk and goes all day, but he is a little high spirited and tough to catch and put a halter on. Tall Man is tall and has an easy gate. He walks fast and is gentle. Trigger is a big horse and is tough. You can rope off him all day. He has a big heart and always gives you his best. Dark Meat is gentle and easy to control in thick oaks, pines or mahogany. He is a good roping horse and has a nice instant loop when urged to go faster but he has a slow walk.
Like Tony McCoy, I have also found horses are like people and no two are alike. Out of all the attributes I want in a horse, I have found one thing very important. I would rather pull back on the reins (slow him down) once in a while during a long day on the mountain, than to spend all day spurring the horse to keep him going or to keep up. I prefer this in people who I work with too.
A horse is a pleasure to ride with his ears up, that walks fast and is interested in what is going on as compared to a horse that is a dead beat, unmotivated animal that requires constant prodding. With people, you see the same difference. Some get out the door early, stride out and make things happen. Others, need to be dragged around or spurred all day.
The human equivalent to a good horse is a confident, cheerful, energetic, enthusiastic, optimistic, and upbeat person. This should be at the root of who you are; your personal driving force. Cultivate the habit of seeing the positive side of situations, look for the good, make it fun and look for the blessing in there when times are tough. When you feel this way you will get out the door early and make things happen all day and people will be attracted to you. Just like the horse, you will not be hanging back needing someone to spur you.
We spend a great deal of time finding in this mission. Finding is really just talking to everyone, testifying of the message of the restoration and inviting people to learn more. Think about the people you meet while looking up referrals, on the street, on the doors, in public transportation, etc. They are real people with problems, worries and responsibilities, just like you and me.
“…All of them are children of God, your brothers and sisters. God loves them just as He loves you. Many of these people are searching for purpose in life. They are concerned for their families. They need the sense of belonging that comes from the knowledge that they are children of God, members of His eternal family. They want to feel secure in a world of changing values. They want “peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come” (D&C 59:23), but they are “kept from the truth because they know not where to find it” (D&C 123:12). (PMG p.1)
They will be much more inclined to invite you into their home if you are interesting, fun, and friendly. If they feel uplifted in your presence they will want more of that in their own life. If you are the opposite of these things: not interesting, not fun, not friendly and they feel ‘down’ in your presence, why would they want more of that by inviting you to come to teach them?
All of these attributes: confident, cheerful, energetic, enthusiastic, optimistic, upbeat, seeing the positive, look for the good, make it fun, and look for the blessings are learned behavior. It is a choice by you to possess them and they can be developed with practice and effort. Someone once said, “Sprinters are born and long distant runners are made.” You can make these attributes. If you are not born with them, you can still develop them. Also, no one feels all these attributes 100% of the time, but successful people press on anyway. You must ‘fake it, until you make it.’ That is not to say you need to be a big phony or put on a show that is over-the-top but just in a quiet confident way, choose your upbeat attitude. It might feel artificial and forced at first but will eventually feel more natural. Studies have shown your body and brain do not know the difference between acting enthusiastic and being enthusiastic. Take a critical look in the mirror at how you come across. Your body language, eye contact and smile are a good start to this transformation of your core.
Your confidence has a large effect on your performance. When events in your life or experiences at the moment cause negative reaction, I hope all of us can avoid being a drag to others, carry a cloud of sadness, and express negative views. Remember, you are not what happened to you; you are what you choose to be.
The Lord has promised to those hastening the work of salvation:
36 And now, verily I say unto you, and what I say unto one I say unto all, be of good cheer, little children; for I am in your midst, and I have not forsaken you; (DC 61:36)
18 And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours. (DC 78:18)
We all want to be successful and to have good things happen to us. I wrote this as a short reminder of the core qualities of highly successful people. Nobody in this mission completely flunks out and these qualities probably cycle from day to day for most of us. But, it is important to be aware of and develop these qualities to consistently be the core of who you are not only for success on a mission but also success in life.
I enjoy riding horses and love working with cattle on a horse. I do not know everything about horses and cattle but the business is intriguing to me. We calve each year between the 15th of February and end of March. We run the cow herd on pastures in East Millard County in May and June. Then the rest of the summer until the first of October we run the cattle on the National Forest east of Fillmore on the summer range. It is a great life-style and has been a blessing to me and my family.