I get asked all the time what my thoughts or advice are for young people who want to get into agriculture. I have been asked to give presentations on this topic. What I tell them is really unconventional, and catches most people off guard. This blog will be about one of the very first things a person should do.
The first thing to learn how to do is swim. If life is an ocean and we are all in it you need to know how to swim, otherwise you will drown with your friends. I used to have a lot of friends. We had a lot of fun, drinking, hunting and so on. I was in my late teens early twenties. I was trying to raise cattle and had dreams of making it a big deal one day. It seemed the harder I worked the bigger mess it was. My buddies were always pulling me away to go do this or that. When I got home to do chores it was late and I didn’t give a shit, or in the morning I was really hung over.
Then I kinda had some falling outs with a few of them. Eventually the others quit inviting me to things because I quit going. Here is the funny part. After I got away from that mess, things improved for me. I started having some success. I had a new bunch of friends. As I got even more momentum those friends started to get sideways with me.
Here is the thing. People that are too weak to follow their own dreams will always find a way to tear down yours. It takes a lot of inner strength and belief in yourself to break away from them. You have to go out on a limb to be successful, and it is lonely out there. You will get made fun of. You can always go back to the comfort and the acceptance of your buddies. You can crawl back from the limb and rejoin them on the trunk of the tree. My guess is they will probably pick on you and remind you to never try that again.
So what if you do have some success? Your friends will throw darts at you. Their words may hurt. I have seen people have some success in life, and when their friends poked fun at them for it, they quit trying so hard. Next thing you know they were back in the same rut as their buddies. My friends tried this and that is what led to the falling out. I left them. The trick is to be able to swim
Keep kicking. Find yourself a mentor. Learn from their firsthand knowledge. I did this. It involved some travel and time. I want to be the best. In order to become the best I knew I had to learn from the best. I will give you a hint on where to find the best, they are not in the universities or colleges. And most have never won an award or special recognition. People that were mentored are catapulted years ahead of their age group. While my age group was in college majoring in parties, I was being mentored.
Network with people who are better than you. I feel it is somewhat important to have someone to chase. Don’t make it a sick obsession. As long as you can see someone who is ahead of you and better than you are, you will push yourself to improve your skills. Here is the thing. You will eventually miss the intellectual stimulus that is critical to entrepreneurial and physiological mental health.
I want to stress this point. Even though you are learning from others it is important to do your own thinking. Question your mentor. Use the tools you already have. Don’t be like the Tin Man or the Scarecrow and go to the Wizard to find out you already have a heart or a brain.
So what happens if things don’t go right and you fail? Stay out of the trap of seeking co-misery. Keep kicking. Keep swimming. You see the co-misery trap all over the country. It is the farmers that feel rotten about themselves and routinely join to talk about how hopeless it is. The one thing that will make them feel worse is a farmer who does have success through his own initiative. These guys will wage physiological warfare on anyone who shows signs of positive thinking. They will nag at you and tell you all the reasons why what you are doing wont work. If you are sensitive to this there is only one cure. Stay the hell away from them at all costs. If you are wired like me you will love them hating on you. It motivates me.
Keep kicking. Don’t be afraid to take a risk. The old timers in the coffee shops that bitch about life will tell you a story about how if they had taken that one chance they would be better off. Then wait for it. It will come. The whole list of excuses of why it wouldn’t have worked anyway. Decades later, still making excuses, still full of self doubt, still stuck in the co-misery trap. Don’t be that guy. Swim. Keep kicking because a person only floats when they are dead