Monthly Archives: October 2012

Be the 5%

“How fortunate for leaders that men do not think” Adolf Hitler

“Governments don’t want a population capable of critical thinking. They want obedient workers, just smart enough to run the machines, and just dumb enough to passively accept their situation.”  George Carlin

I got both of those quotes off Kit Pharo’s  Facebook page.  They are appropriate for this blog entry

For centuries man has tried to build what we have today.  We live in a golden age.  We have more wealth, an ease of living that has not been replicated, ever.  It takes no special talent, skill, or even brains to earn a living today.  And so many people take that for granted.

I read this article last week, and it talked about the lack of success people have today.  If we took 100 young men 25 years old, all equally gifted and educated, and turn them loose in the world only 5% would become successful.   Now all these men were eager, hungry, thought they would be successful, yet only 5% make it.  This article said one would be rich.  Four would be independently wealthy.  The rest would still be working, broke, or dependent on someone else.   The thing that stood out to me was we live in the wealthiest land of all time and at age 65 people are dependent on someone else?  I understand some of these people may have had something bad happen to them.  Not all though, and that is what I’m focused on.

Now the article didn’t offer any ideas on why this is so I must draw my own conclusion.  I read somewhere else once that 19 out of 20 people have no idea why they get out of bed in the morning.  It’s just what everybody else does.  It’s what society expects of them.


There it is.  That is the problem in one word.  The opposite of courage is not cowardice.  It’s conformity.

When I wrote for YPC’s Cattle Call some of my blogs never got posted.  I was told to “tone it down” or to change something because “people don’t want to think that hard”.  (So for those of you who bug me from time to time about why Cattle Call has not linked to me, or why NC never posts a link to me on their Facebook page, now you know why.  They much prefer the 95% of say nothing blogs.)

Since we were little and went to school we were told to get in line follow the rules, get good grades.  Then we are told to go to college, get a degree.   That way you can get a good job.  Ah safety and security.  You are well on your way now, right?  You have a student loan the size of a mortgage, and a real mortgage on your new home too.  So now you have a couple hundred thousand in debt and are a total complete part of the system.  Welcome to the 95%.  You conformed.

Some say the human race is fixed.  I would agree with that statement only from a different angle.  It is fixed to keep the weak from losing.  Think of the economy as a war time convoy.  The convoy has to go the speed of its slowest vessel in order to keep from breaking formation.  That is our economy in a nutshell,  conforming to the slowest vessel.

One really good definition of success I heard was this: Success is the pursuit of a worthy ideal.  We all have the capability to come to this.  We were all born free.  We all had a box of crayons to express our creativity.  Go get your crayons back!   Here is the problem with good ideas.  They alter the balance of power in relationships.  That is why they are often resisted.   Your friends will ridicule you and tell you your idea is stupid.  When you come up with a good idea you do not know if it is a good idea or not, and neither does anybody else.  So why would you pursue it?  Thing is when so many of us come up with a good idea we don’t follow up on it.  We conform instead.

We conform to everything.  We conform to our political party and their stupid ideas.  We conform  to our pastor and what he says about our faith.  Have you ever read the Bible and thought about what you are reading?  How do you know he is right if you haven’t?  We conform to our teachers.  They tell us if we are right or wrong.  Some things are fundamental, they are right or wrong.  Thing is in life you can screw up, and if you can think on your feet you can salvage a bad situation, correct course and come out ok.  You can only do this if you do not conform.    That is what is wrong with our president.  He has no real life experience just academia experience.

I have seen publications from university after university that concludes we only use 10% of our brain’s ability to think.  (I’m not sure how they determine this)   Imagine if we used 15% or 20%!  Would we conform?

Last thing.  The things that were given to us for free, like our mind we place little value on and take for granted.  The things we buy we place a value on and cherish.  What we buy can be replaced cheaply and at any time.  What we get for free can never be replaced.

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Posted by on October 31, 2012 in Uncategorized


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The Guru

Before my cattle deal got big enough to be a full time occupation for me I worked a lot of off farm jobs.  I used to drive truck as one of those jobs.  I was also farming with my dad then too.  I would get a call to pick up a load at around 6 pm.  So I would leave the field and go drive.  My dad was okay with it because I really wasn’t getting paid to farm, sweat equity (which is worth less than the salt in the sweat,  by the way) and needed to make some cash somehow.  I’d make that run and usually get home when the sun came up or of it were to a different location I’d get home late the next day.  Either way I didn’t sleep.  Sometimes I’d go as long as four days without sleeping.   My mother hounded me and hounded me to quit driving and go back to school.  “Quit working so hard.  Get a four year degree and have an easier life” she would tell me.  (That is one of the biggest lies parents tell their kids.)  One of the smartest things I did was ignore her.  I had a chance to make a dream a reality.

One night while driving I heard this story about success.  It stuck with me for a long time.  I heard it back in the late 90’s, and since have forgotten it.  I heard it again this summer.  My man Eric Thomas does a great job telling it.  I’m going to repost it here

The Guru

There was this young man who wanted to be successful.  No matter what he tried he didn’t achieve the level of success he was hoping for.  So one day he went to this guru.  This guru was a happenin dude.  He was a huge success.  He made lots of money and had nice cars.  The young man went to the guru and said, “I want to be on the same level you are on.  I wanna make money”

The guru said “If you wanna be on the same level I’m on I’ll meet you at the beach at 4 am”

The young man was like I wanna be successful, I don’t wanna swim.

So at 4 am the young man showed up at the beach.  He had on a business suit.  He was ready to rock and roll.  He was pumped up to learn how to be successful and make tons of money.

The guru told him to go out into the water.

The young man was like WTF!?  “I didn’t come here to learn how to swim”

The guru said “I thought you wanted to make money.”

So the young man goes out into the water.  He goes out waist deep and stops.  He’s thinking to himself this is crazy.  I wanna make money.  I don’t want to be a life guard

The guru told him to keep going out deeper.

So the young man goes out until the water is up to his chest.  He’s thinking this is bullshit.  What does wading in the water at 4 am have to do with making money?  He was ready to come back in.

The guru told him to go out a little bit farther.  He’s about there.

The young man goes out until the water is just below his chin.  He’s really getting fed up with this whole affair and was ready to come in and go home.

Just then the guru goes out into the water.  Grabs the young man and holds him down under the water.

At first the young man did not resist, and waited.  Then he started to get frightened and tried to fight to come up for air.  The more he fought the harder the guru held him under water.

Just as the young man was about to pass out the guru raised him up.

After the young man got done gasping for air, and was able to compose himself the guru asked him “While you were down there, what did you want more than anything in the world?”

The young man said he wanted to breathe.

The guru told him that when he wanted to be successful as badly as he wanted to breathe, THEN he would be successful.

I think that is an awesome story.  Its way better when someone tells it with lots of feeling because then you can really get the emotion of it all.

Now I’m going to get deep for a second.  So many people say they want to be successful.  And they are willing to sacrifice to get there (cough).  Most people are willing to sacrifice or focus until the game comes on, or until their cell phone rings.  They can sacrifice when it’s easy and convenient.

Now get this next part

You must be willing to sacrifice who you are today, to become who you will be tomorrow.

Let that soak in

Who you will become is determined by who you associate with and by the books you read.  I have stated time and time again I wanted to be the best, so I went and learned from the best.  That meant pushing my windshield halfway across this continent.  To learn from other people meant I had to miss watching a Husker game, or skip going to a party.  I started reading books at 5 am

When you continually do smart things it becomes a habit.  When you do this you start to make and save money.  If you continue to do stupid things that too becomes a habit, and you will die a slow painful death by 1000 cuts. (I don’t mean you will literally die, your chance of success will die).  You see, no one gets “discovered” there is no “break through”.  Successful people become successful because they did the right things over and over a million times.

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Posted by on October 22, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Its Already a Trend

Give this article a quick read.


Now I don’t usually write a blog post and put it up right away.  I usually wait a day or two and reread it, before posting and I try to put some thought into them.  This article is almost a perfect reflection of what I talked about in my last blog

I wanna quickly go over some of the points that were brought up.  First they said this is not a trend.  This summer the big feedlot in the county where I live told the local paper,  that they would close if it stayed dry and input prices stayed high.  I drove by that yard two days ago.  They had pens that never had cattle in them this summer, and you could see they had shipped some cattle out of other pens sometime in the last week or two.   Time will tell if they repopulate.  Will this be a trend?  I talk to a lot of order buyers and feedlot owners weekly.  Their greatest concern is if they will be able to find replacement feeders in the near future.  We saw so many calves come to town already this summer  that normally come in the fall, and winter months.  For now it sounds like the bunk space is filled.  And there was the mention of supply lag in heifer retention.  That is a good point.  Right now I know of a lot of people who sold their steers and are hanging on to their heifers to see what happens.   There was the mention of  “do we need all that bunk space?”  I read a cattlefax article a couple years ago that said back then that we had 25% more bunk space than we had cattle!  After the blizzards of 09/10 and the drought of 11/12 taking a huge toll on cow numbers I can’t imagine how over build the feeding sector is today.

If you are new to what I write you are about to find out I continually harp about skill.  The number one factor in profitability is marketing skill.  In the article he blames the drought for high input prices.   Go back several years with me here.  When fuel hit $3 for the first time I heard people in the salebarns whining that it would put them out of business.  I made the retort that if $3 fuel was going to force them out they were already out the door they just didn’t know it yet.  Funny how a guy in his late 20’s was right.  Those producers still have cattle on the yard today, thing is they went broke and now are a grower yard for some big feedlot.  So here is why I bring that up.  There is a quote in there that says “We ship cattle from dry areas to wet”.  Yes we do.  With fuel at well over $4 where I live transportation is still cheap, compared to geographical spreads.  I buy cattle in different areas.  Sometimes a couple states away from here.  I can get them home for $20/head.  Thing is I bought them for $10 to $40 a hundred cheaper than I can buy them locally.  I can pay the driver  $500 to $2000 depending on how far he has to ship them and on a 50,000# to 56,000# load just look at how much money I saved!  They said they were going to wait until the economics improved.  It looks pretty good to me

I can just hear you now “Not so fast my friend.  What about the drought raising the price of corn?”  Corn is not the biggest input.  You can not do anything about the price of corn.  If you buy an 8 weight steer you will need to feed on 550# to get him to finish, roughly.  Here’s a quick rule of thumb I use and it’s usually pretty accurate.  Take the price of corn per bushel and divide it by 5.6 and you will be close to the cost of gain in a custom yard.  So today that would be around $725 per steer.  But an 8 weight steer will cost you around $1100 to buy.  Funny thing a 1000# steer also costs $1100/head.  Just to be sure my point is clear.  We can’t do anything about the price of corn or fuel.  We can control how much we spend on replacement animals and the type of animals we buy.

Look how much money we just saved by buying the right animals!  That’s marketing.  We don’t need to wait for economics to improve.  The markets are blessing us with opportunities to profit right now!

Because this yard lacks the proper marketing skills their employees are forced to move or find other jobs.  Not to mention the impact this will have on the local community.  There will be millions of dollars that will leave the area.  I’m talking everything from the fuel they buy, supplies, parts, payroll, meals, feed, taxes, and the list goes on and on.

They said they are going to remain competitive even in a drought.  When you close the gates and step off the playing field that is a forfeit.

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Posted by on October 17, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Its Up to You

It has been quite a while since my last post.  This is a busy time of year for everyone involved in agriculture and I am county co-chair for a U.S. Senate campaign.  If I didn’t have cattle to look at and feed every day I would most certainly lose my sanity.

The popularity of this blog skyrocketed after I posted “Let It Burn”.  That blog was even printed off and posted in one of the barns where I buy cattle.   I had people come up to me while I was on a buy cycle in different sale barns, and tell me that they like my blog and they refer their friends to this page.   I want to take just a moment to reemphasize my main goal for this blog.  I want to get you to think.  I don’t expect you to agree with everything I write, nor will you disagree with everything either.  I will not, can not,  draw you a road map.  I can only tell you things I have learned and applied.  The rest is up to you.

I did some public speaking this summer.  I had people at every stop ask me if I ever speak to young people?  I try.  That is the audience I want to be in front of.  Thing is I never get asked to come to a college or high school.  Probably because I will tell those youngsters something completely different than what their instructors tell them.  Their teachers must be doing a poor job to.  I have talked to dozens of young people recently that just don’t think they can make it in agriculture.  They think they are destined to fail if they try.

Jim Rogers, a legendary investor, says two things that I bring up all the time to people.  One is this, the average age of a farmer is getting old.  We have a growing population and we will need someone to replace the old farmers and feed this growing world.  He says that farmers will be driving the Maserati’s and investment bankers will be driving broke down gas guzzlers.   He thinks agriculture has an extremely bright future.

This Maserati would cost about 150K


I have had people tell me time and time again all the reasons they can’t do something.  They already know all the reasons they will fail.  Here’s the funny part.  The kid from Nebraska thinks he’s gonna fail for the same reason the kid from Tennessee thinks he’s gonna fail, they both give me the same reasons the kid from Texas gave me.  We are teaching all the wrong things the way I see it.  I tell these kids all the time I have more confidence in them than they have in themselves.

They shrug me off when I tell them that.  I get some mumblings about their last name, or education, no money,  to risky, not wanting to work as hard as the old man.  Let me put a little perspective here.  You are reading this blog for a reason.  Here’s the thing.  When I graduated high school one of my teachers came up to my mom and told her that he didn’t think I’d live long enough to graduate.  I dropped out of community college.  And yet I know all the reasons you can succeed.

I can tell you why you will fail.  One is you have not learned to control you emotions.  Mainly fear.  Let me define fear.  It is an acronym F.E.A.R.  False Evidence Appearing Real.  It’s all those reasons you give me for thinking you can’t do it.  All those reasons are total bullshit.  I can debunk every excuse you give me, if you would only listen to me.  Now ask yourself, where are you getting all this False Evidence?  Your teachers, your loser friends, even your girl/boyfriend, the free be publications you read.  You are trying to learn from the wrong people.  I have said this time and time again.  I wanted to be the best so I went and learned from the best.  It cost me time and money.  I had to travel to find the best and learn from them.  And now it has paid off.  It took over a decade.  This is a crock pot, not a microwave.  And I am still learning.

The second reason so many of you fail, is because you never tried.  So many of you have told me you want to do something.  Raise cattle, farm, start your own business of some other kind.  I ask you what have you done to start?  How many cattle do you have?  What is in your garage/living room?  Are you working on starting?  Most of you tell me you have done nothing because of some reason or another which goes back to F.E.A.R.  Guys you can’t succeed unless you start.  You gotta try.  Now think about this for a second.  You read this blog, you tell me you haven’t started yet!?  You are a “Rope Skipper”.  ( There is one reader that pulled the trigger and bought a handful of Herford heifers this year.  Now many of you will say “Big deal.  You can’t make a living off a few heifers”.   You would be right.  You can’t make a living off a few heifers.  And it is a big deal.  That young couple is way ahead of the rest of you who are to chickenshit to get started.  They overcame the fear.  They invested in their future.  And most important they are not wasting time. ( )

I’m going to wrap up here.  Now you have all heard that you are what you think about.  I have heard so many reasons, like I’ve said, about different short comings.  Put those thoughts aside, and take some time to think about your strengths.  What are you going to do to learn to compensate for your weaknesses?  Do you have specific goals?  You are your own greatest asset.  What are you doing with yourself and your time?

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Posted by on October 15, 2012 in Uncategorized


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