Just a thought: Just waiting for a cow to show up

There is a story about a man who, on a visit to the country, decided he wanted to milk a cow so he could take some milk home for his family. He grabbed a stool and a bucket and walked out into the pasture where a cow was grazing. He found a spot he liked and sat down on his stool with his bucket next to him. He could see the cow across the pasture. 

The man waited patiently. He was all ready to milk with the bucket in just the right position next to the stool. He just needed the cow. He waited, and waited, and waited for the cow to come to him. The man became more frustrated by the hour. The cow never came. Finally, after spending most of the day on his stool in the field, he gave up. He picked up his bucket and stool and went on home without any milk.

It would be one thing for the man to go home frustrated, get over it quickly and move on with life. But what this man did was complain to everyone he saw on the way home and for the next week of his life. The man said things like, “I can’t believe the cow wouldn’t come to me” and “who built that pasture so big?” 

By looking hard enough, the man found multiple reasons why his cow milking experience wasn’t good and in each instance he made it someone or something else’s fault. 

From time to time, we are each like the man with the stool and the bucket in the middle of the field who was unsuccessful in his quest. Some people live their entire lives this way. 

There will always be things that turn out differently than we want or expect. Our first response to these situations should be to ask the question, “What could I have done differently?” The man seeking milk didn’t need to look past his own nose to find the true reason he returned home having failed.

Life happens second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. It comes at us quickly and then it passes us by. That is what life is all about. Do you create action or do you spend your life responding to action? It is the difference between being proactive and being reactive.

Reactive people sit in the middle of a field with a bucket and wait. Proactive people go find the cow and make things happen. 

Several years ago my wife and I had lunch at the Hard Rock Café restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee. On the menu there was a picture of an old brown guitar with several hand written writings on it in white ink. Apparently the guitar pictured was Bo Diddley’s “cigar box” axe, hand built in 1945. Below the picture of the guitar it read “BEFORE ELIAS MCDANIEL BATES TURNED INTO BO DIDDLEY AND CREATED THE BO DIDDLEY BEAT, HE LITERALLY HAD TO CREATE THE GUITAR TO PLAY.”

After some research, I believe the caption must refer to the guitar pictured, not the “guitar” generically. Nevertheless, the concept of a man inventing his own guitar and a new kind of music is as proactive as one can get. 

Bo Diddley didn’t sit in the middle of a field and wait for a cow to find him.

The biggest gap in the world is between “I should” and “I did.” Action changes “should” to “did.” It is the difference between someone who “should get milk,” and someone who “did get milk.” 

There are things in this world that you need to be accomplishing. There is even something in this world that only you can accomplish. Action doesn’t mean accomplishment, but you won’t get an accomplishment without action.

I believe that each us has a dream. It is a hope for the future. Many of our dreams will be unfulfilled. Our dreams could be left unfulfilled not because they need to be, but because we don’t move on them. If you have a dream, take action and give it a chance to happen. 

Many are fearful of what might happen if action is taken. I can guarantee you what will happen if no action is taken. Sometimes you have to take a leap, and build your wings on the way down. No one can predict to what heights you can soar until you spread your wings and fly. 

There is so much summed up in the three words of Nike’s ad “Just do it!”

At times the failure to take action can have life changing results. There is an African parable about lions and gazelles. It goes as follows, “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows that it must run faster than the fastest lion, or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows that it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle; when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.” The failure to move rapidly in the life of gazelle will end its life. The failure to move rapidly in the life of a lion will end its life.

My challenge to you today is to live a life that is proactive, not reactive. Determine where you need to be and then take action to get there. Do it now. Don’t make excuses. Don’t blame it on others. Don’t fear failure. Hockey great Wayne Gretzky says you will always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Life is about repeatedly taking shots. 

Now don’t just sit there, pick up your bucket and stool and go find the cow.

Just a thought...

Rick Kraft is a motivational speaker, a syndicated columnist, a published author, and an attorney. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to rkraft@kraftlawfirm.org or write to P.O. Box 850, Roswell, New Mexico, 88202 - 0850.

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