Michael's Monthly Column "Throwing My Loop"

Throwing My Loop…    

By:  Michael Johnson


     You have to do that a lot.  Knock, I mean.  You gotta’ knock a lot.  Sounds simple enough, and we all claim to know that.  My grandma taught me that.  When I was about eight or so, one of my favorite activities involved sitting and listening while she read her Bible aloud.  On one occasion, she read, “And Jesus said, ‘Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and the door will be opened unto you.”
     “Does that work the first time,” I asked, looking up at her.
     “No,” she said.  “You have to knock a lot.”
     At that moment, had you asked me, “Do you understand what she means?” my answer would have been, “Sure.”
     I didn’t have a clue. 

     If we can just learn that one thing, we do better.  The secret is to let the knowledge seep down into our bones that we must try, and when we fail, we must try again.  Easy to say, hard to do.  When we fail, we become embarrassed and we want to stop.  Our first inclination is to remove ourselves from the humiliation.  But those who succeed don’t. 
     A few years ago, a young man named Shaun McHeel won the prestigious PGA Tournament.  When asked how such an unknown could pull off the almost impossible feat of winning a major, McHeel replied, “I entered 254 tournaments.  I tried 254 times…and I finally won.”       

     I called a man once and told him my troubles.  “Mr. Joe, my business is failing – my dream is in trouble.  They say you can help me,” I said.
     “I can,” he said.  Then, he told me the secret of life…
     “Most people can’t stand to fail,” he said.  “But those who can - those people do better. Here’s the way it works in business – and everything else - when you are first beginning…” He then explained that for every 50 attempts, I should expect to fail 48 times!
 “That’s 96 failures of 100 attempts,” he said.  “Get ready for it ‘cause it’s gonna’ happen.  Most people can’t stand that – but if you can, later things begin to change.”  He warned, “At first, it may even be worse than that.  You might make 200 or 300 attempts, and have no success – but keep on!” he said.  “Things will change.”
     “How do you know that?” I asked him.  “And what causes things to change?” I said.
     “Because I’ve lived it,” he answered.  “What causes it?  How should I know?  Maybe if we try enough, the angels begin to feel sorry for us, and say, “Look at that poor guy down there.  Let’s nudge things in his favor a bit.”  All I know is – it works.”
     He was right.  I’m still here on the farm.  The dream is still alive. 

      Looking back on my experiences, I see those early failures were more than just failures.  Rather, they were necessary steps – they were teachers!  During those times, I learned how to drive across America and not get lost, to wash my truck just before arriving, and to keep my pressed shirt hanging in the back to be put on five minutes before the scheduled meeting.  And most importantly, I learned Mr. Joe was right.  In the beginning of any endeavor, we fail a great portion of the time – perhaps even 90 per cent of the time!  But that 10 per cent is far better and far more than we think.  That 10 per cent will keep you alive.  That 10 per cent gives us hope that the thing can be done. 

     In 2005 and 2006, I roped better than ever in my life.  In the spring of 2007, something happened, and I don’t know what…just lost it.  Just as I was feeling there was some permanence and consistency in my delivery and style of roping – just as my horses were hitting their stride - something happened.  I entered what all hitters, golfers, and ropers dread with a passion – a slump!  I knew there was nothing to do but rope my way through it, and that’s what I have tried to do.  For twelve long months I have been unable to do that.
     I feel so sorry for my loved one.  Sharon and I go to ropings with high hopes.  On the way, she tells me to be positive – to remember the successes - to clear my mind and rope aggressively.  Then I miss, break out, or fail to get my dally – whatever it is, it’s the wrong thing.  She comes to the trailer and the first thing she says is, “We’ll get them next time.” I feel so sorry for her.  She’s said that so many times in the last months.  But I know what to do.  I have a system that works…and it will work for you.
     I’ll keep trying.
     I will re-double my failure rate.
     I’ll keep my heart light, and know that the best in the world have bad days at the plate, that on some days even Tiger hits it crooked, and even the great Ben Hogan went home once in frustration.  I’ve seen Speed and Clay O. miss, and I even saw Trevor Brazile hit the dirt nose first – and I will remember…they got up.  They came back.  I’ll be like the best in world…I’ll try again.  Wish me luck.  Pray for me.  The way I’ve been roping, I need all the help I can get.  I’ll have faith.  I’ll believe in the evidence of things not seen…and I will try again.   

     I’ll do all those things because I know something to be true.  Regardless of the task we are attempting - if we continue to try – good days come ’round again.  Helpers come along to aid us on our journey.  Whether we are doing math, selling a product, hitting a golf ball, or roping a steer - if we are open – we will have a time when things go up instead of down…when the darkness turns to light.  If we listen, work, and try, our skill increases, relationships grow, we correct our mistakes, and the thing we desired comes into the world.
     All I have to do is knock a lot. 

        We can’t …but the Spirit can. 

                                                        Knock loudly and long enough at the gate…
 and someone will come.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 Ed. Note – Just two days after this article was submitted, Michael went to yet another roping.  On March 15th, he roped in an invitational ten-header.  He won first place.     


Ed. Note – Michael Johnson’s Healing Shine – A Spiritual Assignment was named “Best Audio Book” of the 2007 Hollywood Book Festival, and “First Runner-Up” at the 2007 New York Book Festival.  Read more of the author’s seven-year spiritual journey with the great – but severely troubled - roping horse called Shine at michaeljohnsonbooks.com

Michael's latest release, Reflections Of A Cowboy, is currently available in audio book form. The two volume set consists of articles, essays and excerpts from radio performances about good people and good horses in the life of an Oklahoma cowboy. Approximately 8 hours in length. Reflections Of A Cowboy in printed form is scheduled for release in the summer of 2005.

Michael heading for the great Sonny Gould

Michael & Blue

Healing Shine


Please stop
and sign our Guestbook

Send Michael
an Email

Michael Johnson Books
1172 CR 4122  Campbell, Texas 75422  (903) 862-2082

Copyright © 2003 Michael Johnson Books. All rights reserved.
webmaster pswope@candw-webmasters.com