J.C. Mattingly: A Socratic Rancher 1-9-12
Though resolutions get a lot more attention in January every year than they do in the months following, resolutions are still a chance to state, and think about, our underlying values, and also to list a few foibles we’d like to correct, or at least reduce.
So here goes …
1. Understand that patience is a primary virtue.
Several old ranchers have told me patience is the virtue necessary for all others to survive.
2. Endeavor to leave the world better than you found it.
The Golden Rule applies not only to our dealings with each other, but with the way we handle Earth’s resources.
3. Try to be more curious than fearful.
Fear collapses our confidence, while knowledge expands it.
4. Remember there is something to be learned from every experience.
An old boy once told me, “If you lose money and learn nothing, you’re down, which means if you lose money and learn something, your balance sheet is growing.”
5. Stop talking to the television.
I have a bad habit of talking to politicians when they appear on TV, as if they could hear me. Given that they probably couldn’t hear me if I was speaking to them face to face, it’s best I stopped talking to them on the screen. Same goes for business reporters and sportscasters.
6. Cut back on plastic.
So many things are unnecessarily wrapped in plastic, with the result that there there are now islands in the oceans, some the size of Texas, comprised mostly of plastic.
7. Pay it forward.
Don’t be afraid to err on the side of giving.
8. Live like you were dying.
Those who know all about it, tell us we will regret the things we didn’t do much more than the mistakes we made.
9. Don’t dance in the end zone.
Scoring is a strong statement, and most of the time, one score isn’t the end of the game.
10. Remember to vote, and then support your interest group.
Studies show you have as much, or more, influence in political outcomes by supporting your interest group and their lobbyists, as you do by voting for individual politicians or policies.
11. Shop for food, not maid service.
For example, a person can buy 25 pounds of potatoes for the same money that buys a 1 pound bag of potato chips.
12. Worry less about the end of the world, and more about making ends meet.
I expect to be reading the Fence Post a year from today, in spite of predictions that the world might end in 2012.
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One out of every three acres in the U.S. is rangeland. Two-thirds of these are privately owned, mainly by ranchers who graze their livestock in the open country of the American West.