Michael's Monthly Column "Throwing My Loop"

Throwing My Loop…    

By:  Michael Johnson  



     Easy to say – a bit more difficult to do.  To hang in there when it’s rough, I mean.  It’s hard not to give up considering the trials we sometimes face, now isn’t it?  During our time on earth, we deal with disappointment, tragedy, loss of loved ones, divorce, injury, and illness, just to name a few.  I was reminiscing with an old cowboy once, and I’ll never forget a statement he made.  “I can tell you about life, son,” he said.  “I can tell you all about life.”  I leaned forward waiting, and he said, “Life is just one dang thing after another.
So is there a valid reason for us to continue – to not yield?  Absolutely.  In fact, there are many.  There is a key to finding those reasons.  It all begins with one thing.  One of the best actions we can take for ourselves – and those we love – is to develop a particular skill and/or ability we might call “resiliency,” or “perseverance,” or “mental strength.”  While we are learning about arithmetic, reading, spelling, and geography, and life in general, it would be most helpful to learn about “try,” and what that word really means.  The bad news is you will probably have to learn this on your own, as it is not taught anywhere from first grade through Ph.D.  (Ain’t that a shame.)  I can only help you a bit because I’m still learning about “it” myself.  Not knowing a lot about a subject however, has never prevented me from giving advice on the matter, so here is Life Lesson 101…
     We all know what success is, right?  It’s about having a good job or a lot of money, it’s about hitting the baseball most often or the greatest distance, or it’s about making the game winning shot, or roping the fastest, right?  How about being a famous actor?  It’s about success!  Isn’t it?  You know, I’m beginning to wonder.
     If we look at things a bit differently, it’s not about success at all.  It’s about dealing with failure.  And since most of us are good at failing, that’s something we can all do, right?  So don’t think me silly here, but if we get really good at failing – and we don’t give up – wonder what might happen?  Read on…
     Truth is Pete Rose was the best career hitter ever.  Truth also is Pete made the most outs.  Babe Ruth hit 714 home runs, but he struck out 1330 times.  Nolan Ryan struck out more people than anybody, but he walked more batters than anyone in the history of baseball.  Michael Jordan says he missed the game-winning shot far more than he ever made it.  Most all actors go on hundreds and hundreds of auditions before they ever get a part.  Because of failure, all seasoned ropers eventually learn they must be smooth instead of fast.  Fast (or “good”) only comes after failure.  We have to make a handful - a large handful - of mistakes to arrive at something sublime.
     I’m not just playing a numbers game about famous people here.  For over thirty years, I have been interviewing successful business owners who started from scratch.  When I ask them how they did it, guess what every single one of those entrepreneurs tell me?  They tell me about all their failures.
     Bull riders buck off more than not.  Hall of Fame hitters fail 7 of 10 times.  The most famous quarterbacks only complete half their passes, actors are rejected more than accepted…but all of them keep on!  
     But of all those examples, I am the best.
     In my lifetime, I have taken academics very seriously (okay, not always).  I have taken work seriously, golf seriously, roping, horse training, writing, and cooking very seriously.  Yet in all that time, if I’m honest (this hurts a bit) I have never had a success.  Never was a star at the office, never won a big tournament or a big roping (almost did, but we know what that counts…nada), never wrote a best seller, and don’t have my own cooking show.  And what did all that effort get me?  Why should I keep on?  Because…
     The Lord allowed me to marry a good woman who loves me like my mother did, a good dog who would give his life for me, my wife, or either grandchild, three horses who would run all day if I only asked, and we all live on the farm we dreamed of as children.  He gave me the best friends in the world, and wood ducks on my pond.  All that and not one single success on my part – all that after a lifetime of what some would call failure.  See, I got good at it.  That failure thing I mean. 

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”
                                                                                          --  Dale Carnegie
“Never give up.  And never, under any circumstances, face the facts.”
                                                                                         --  Ruth Gordon
Amen to that.

                                                                                               --Michael Johnson

 Ed. Note:  In January of 2012, RFD-TV’s All Around Performance Horse TV, and Roping and Riding with Tyler Magnus, will broadcast the first embedded segment of The Advice Barn, a viewer call-in show hosted by Dr. Harry Anderson, with featured guests, Dr. Michael Johnson, and Dr. J. D. Norris.
The Advice Barn is sponsored by Total Feeds, Inc. maker of Total Equine, Dr. Harry Anderson’s creation of an all-purpose feed designed for the horse.  Total Feeds, Inc. sold thousands of tons of Total Equine last year.




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