Tag Archives: capitalism

529 Plan Updated

My 529 plan was originally posted in March of 2013. In my example here, my daughter would have the original 5 head paid off at age 3.  As an update of how well this can work, my daughter has 8 head fully paid for and a few hundred dollars left over.  The cattle market has been extremely generous this year, making our original investment of just over three thousand dollars in February in 2011 worth over ten thousand dollars today.  I seriously doubt anyone has a college/future investment plan for their kid that has done this well.

In all fairness and objectivity, I am fully aware that this bull market will not last, and the value of her cattle will drop. Even so, she has added three more head than projected, which will generate an income even in the bear market that will come someday.

I also mentioned that the cattle biz will help me teach her life lessons. My buttons pop off my shirt as I swell with pride over how much she knows already.  Most of that knowledge coming from her just being around and observing me.  Seeing as how I have seniors from K-state and UNL calling me now seeking advice on everything and anything to do with the cattle biz, I’d say my little girl is way ahead of the curve in more ways than one.

Her lunch is there on the left.  She is following along during the sale with barn card and pen in hand.  Still a bit young for a cell phone

Her lunch is there on the left. She is following along during the sale with barn card and pen in hand. Still a bit young for a cell phone

cat walks provide the best view.  From here she can see all the action in the yard.  This can provide entertainment for quite awhile

cat walks provide the best view. From here she can see all the action in the yard. This can provide entertainment for quite awhile



The original post:

Ever since I was a little kid all I wanted to do was farm and raise cattle. Everything seemed so simple back then.  Just grow up and do what you want to.  We all had that dream.  When you get older, and especially when you have a kid, things get real.


In the last year and a half I have spent way more time in the lawyer’s office and CPA’s office than I care to in a lifetime. I did not get into the cattle biz to learn all about LLCs, Trusts,  payroll taxes and crap like that.  Thing is I do get to do one money/parent thing I love.  Invest in my kid’s future with nothing other than cattle.


A couple years ago I got fed up with the stock market, and pulled all my money out of my Roth IRA, and used the money to buy cattle. I’ve had a 20%, or better, return on my money since 2005 with cattle.  My IRA never did that.


So here is my thinking. As a parent it is always a concern of how to pay for college, even though I would not recommend college, or how to at least give our kids a good start.  After Bernie Madoff ,  John Corzine, and computer generated trades I do not trust the markets.  Thing is I know cattle, so I stick with what I know.


Here is what I’m doing for my kid. The numbers are based off my last trade just last week.  I know the cattle markets will move so for this example I am going to freeze these numbers for the next 18 years.  Thing is even in the last 8 years I’ve still managed to make a 20% return.  Keep that in mind


I market my cattle on a real time cash flow reckoning, so this allows me to always buy back replacement cattle at a profit. You will need to learn how to do this in order for what I am about to outline for you to work.


So when my daughter was born I bought her five head of calves. In this example I am using 480# heifers at $1.43 or $687 head.  So five head would cost a total of $3385.  We are going to back ground these heifers and resell them, and replace at a profit.  So in this example we are selling 730# at $1.33.  My real cost of gain is $.93 with a 2.75# ADG so when I add on a 20% return my cost of gain goes up to $1.15.


The 20% return is a $55/head profit. Buying 480# calves and selling them at 730# with our rate of gain we get to turn 4 times a year.


Now those first five calves I bought for my daughter are financed through the Bank of Dad (BoD). So when we do our first four turns in year one the BoD collects all $1100 of profit and subtracts it from the $3385 that was loaned to the new baby.  At this pace the kid pays off the first 5 head by age three and has $84 left over.  After this point we make the kid reinvest their profits into buying more cattle.  So after four more turns the kid will have enough saved up to buy 6 calves.  I think that would make for a pretty proud four year old.


Now I am going to assume you see the pattern here and I don’t need to do all the math for you and show you the year by year turns.


By age ten in this example the kid will have 37 head. Since there was an income for a minor dad paid the taxes for them.  By now I figure it’s time to secure voter registration, and make the kid a tax payer.  Ouch!  So just figure between Fed and State tax kiss 15% good bye.  Gotta pay for the roads we are using to haul these cattle.  Long before we get to this point, a responsible parent is having/helping the kid pay bills, and balance a check book.  Lots of lessons to be taught here.  I have a buddy doing this with his kids, and it helps them to see there is a purpose in learning math in school.  Also all the lessons that come from helping, do chores.  Some real character building here.


Now by the time the kid is 14 we stop adding more cattle. We stop at 75 head.  That is enough for a pot load.  Also when we stop at 75 head after the first turn we have the rest of the year to do the other 3 trades and save money.  At 14 what kid doesn’t want a car?  So, let them buy one with their own money.  They will have enough.  Also let them pay for some gas, tax, title, insurance and so on.


Now after the car is paid for with cash, we have a decision to make. Do we just hold it here with 75 head, or do we keep buying more?


For my example here I stopped at 75 head and just started saving money.


By 18 the kid will have 75 head of cattle worth $72,000 and saved $39,000, and spent $35,000 on car, gas and so on. So our original investment of $51,500 turned into $146,000 in 18 years.


Now I know the doubting Thomas out there is thinking well you didn’t figure feed and so on. That was in the cost of gain and subtracted from the dollar difference between selling the 7 weight and replacing with the 4 weight.  Leaving us with the $55 retained profit.  And it took 14 years to get up to a load lot.  This is a crockpot not a microwave.


Now what if we took that $51,500 and invested it into a 529 over 14 years, and stopped and then just let the interest compound for four more years until the kid was 18. At a 10% rate of return we would have $169,000.


I really think cattle can compete with a 529, IF you market correctly.


This is what I am doing for my kid. Now according to this example the 529 out performed my cattle plan.  Thing is the 529 didn’t give a sense of accomplishment, or ownership like the cattle do.  The 529 didn’t teach responsibility of paying bills, buying and caring for a car, and cattle, managing cash flow, or understanding where money comes from, and marketing skill.  The 529 didn’t teach the kid how to run a business, and looking at how many animal science and ag business majors corkscrew operations into the ground college didn’t teach that either.


So when my kid is 18 there will be three choices to make. 1) Go to college, keep the cattle and hire dad  to take care of and manage it and use the income for school, or sell them off and go to school, with the goal of graduating debt free.  2) Sell them off and pursue something else.  3) Continue to do the cattle thing.  And I can tell ya with a track record and cash flow like this even at 18 a banker will finance the youngster, with daddy’s supervision of course.


Now suppose I’m half right. And after 18 years you only have a net of $70,000.  Still pretty damn good.   What if I’m half wrong and by 18 you have $300,000?  Wow!


My kid is two and already owns 6 calves all on her own. But she gets to take advantage of my buying power too.


Dave Wright President of Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON) said something to this effect once “I raise kids, the cattle are there to help me teach them life’s lessons”


Posted by on September 26, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Where’s the Benefit? (bread & milk)

Last summer I was in a room of about 40 cattle producers from all over the US, with all kinds of different back grounds and strengths.  I don’t think I’ve ever been part of a more diverse group.  One question that was presented to us was “How does your ranch benefit others?”

Right away the first answer was BEEF.  I will say this, that person went home realizing they are a cattle producer not a beef producer.  There were some ramblings about conserving the environment, and taxes.  Then it was just quiet.

This was something I had thought about before, so I spoke up.  I sell and buy cattle all the time.  I need truckers to move them critters down the road.  That driver uses the money he earned from me to pay his taxes, fuel that he bought somewhere, food from a food service establishment that provides jobs to people, tires and other maintenance, insurance, and so on.  What is left over he keeps the lights on in his house and bread and milk on the table for his family.

I buy feed from family and neighbors.  They must make machinery payments, farm payments, maintenance on the equipment, pay for fertilizer, fuel, seed, and so on.  One guy I buy feed from has three kids, all under the age of three.  He forks out a lot of cash for bread and milk.

Don’t forget the mom and pops feed store I do business with.  They got to pay their suppliers, and employees, along with utilities, and equipment, insurance, taxes, and so on.

I buy cattle in sale barns, who obviously have employees, and other expenses.

You’re getting the idea.   A little bit of money gets spread pretty thin and everyone is trying to pay for bread and milk.

A sale barn needs buyers there to establish a market through open price discovery.  As a cattle buyer I have aided in that process many, many times.

One day I was buying cattle and need to recycle my coffee.  I stood at the top the steps for a moment to see what was behind the gate coming into the ring.  In came a small group of three or four heavy four weight heifers, black.  They would fit a deal I had going, and I needed some weight and some average makers. (average makers are the cattle that get bought cheap, to add weight to a load and lower the average dollars/hundred).  I stood there and watched until the bidding stalled, then jumped in.  I hit them three times, and owned them, improving my average.

Now that scene is no big deal to me.  I do that all the time.  Here is why I remember that day so well.  After I left the head, I went to the office and got a recap (recap is a printout telling me how many cattle I have on each of my numbers, what the average weight and average price per hundred is.  Also tells me total dollars spent and total pounds on each number).  This guy comes up to me and thanked me for buying those heifers I just told you about.  I kinda tried to blow it off, and said “you’re welcome”.  He said “No. You don’t get it.  Every little bit helps.”  I  then stepped outside to call a guy I had just finished putting a load together for.  I watched the guy who just thanked me get into a car with a young woman who was feeding a baby.  He showed her the check and gave her a kiss on the cheek before starting the car and leaving.  I bumped them calves about $25/head.  He got about an extra $100 because me and another buyer pushed them.  Having a little one of my own, I know $100 is barely a dent when it comes to bread, milk and diapers.

I’d like to share another example with you all.  I’m totally bragging here, it’s a good one and I had fun doing it.

The last week before all the kids went back to school last fall, one young teenager was sitting in a local sale barn trying to buy a few calves.  One group of calves came in the ring.  This kid started bidding on them.  They were way too low to just sit there so I hit them a few times.  I pushed them to where they were a good buy and a somewhat decent sale price.  Then I pointed at the kid as a sign for the auctioneer to knock them off on him.

Now to set this up a little better there is always some old asshole that never leaves well enough alone.  Back when I was younger and fiercely needed a few breaks, (good buys) this old grumpy fucker would always jump in and run me.  Well he did the same thing to this kid.  He ran the youngster right up to about what the market was bringing for those calves.

The poor kid shook his head “no”  He was out.  Now, I have NEVER jumped back in on bidding on some cattle after I decided I was out.  I had the money to run this old man, and my anger at him for doing that to me when I was younger came out.  I ran him.   I hung those high dollar calves on him.

This exact same scenario was repeated on the next group of calves that came in the ring.  Everyone in the place got the hint.  We were all going to let this kid have a few calves at a good price, or I was going to fuck with you.  The auctioneer is also the owner at that barn and boy was he having fun with the situation.  That kid got all the calves he wanted (about eight) and he swelled up with so much pride I thought the buttons were gonna pop off his shirt!  Next week he was back in school and I was back at the same barn buying cattle.  I made a win/win situation

Gang, I could list tons more examples of how our operations benefit others.  We often times don’t think they do because we rarely take the time to reflect on it.  This is just everyday stuff to most of us, thing is, it matters to somebody.

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Posted by on June 3, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Cattle Biz Headlines

It’s been what, six weeks since my last post?  A lot has happened in the world during that time.  I like to troll around on social media and see how people react to it.  I have come to think I must be kinda dyslexic,  because I see things differently.  Over the last few months I have got to meet a few readers of this blog.  The biggest compliment I get is “I don’t always agree with you, but damn, you sure made me think about it.”

Here very recently my Facebook and Twitter feeds have been full of the news of Japan taking beef up to 30 months of age. (If we have not met in real life do not friend request me on Facebook.  Follow me on Twitter @mrcattlemaster instead)  I saw very little about Cargill closing the Plainview plant.

One of these will affect the cattle biz in a big way.  The other not so much.  While everyone has their pompoms out for the Japan deal I am talking to guys who are facing reality.  Think for a moment.  Will Japan suddenly import more beef from us?  I doubt it.  They will probably just import cheaper beef.  See their economy is imploding in a huge way.  In case you didn’t know they are in way worse shape than the EU or the US.  We are printing $4 Billion a day to prop up the stock market, just to give you some perspective.   (Don’t think that funny money doesn’t spill over to commodities.  If you are in the market in any way get out!  I don’t care to hear your hedging BS.  You tell me that you obviously don’t know what hedging is).  So what will this do for the market?  I have seen very little affect so far, and I’ve been buying cattle just about every day since that announcement.  I think it will be difficult to gain much when we are in a currency war.

One thing that has had a profound affect is the closing of the Plainview plant in TX.  There are groups that think this will be a huge positive for our state.  Couple that with the Japan news and man they got their pompoms and megaphones out.  “NE is the beef epicenter of the world”.  Um ok.   I currently have the privilege of buying cattle for a big feed yard.  The owner tells me that the National buyer has not been there to bid cattle for a couple of weeks.  He called the guy up to find out why.  The buyer told him that he didn’t need to buy cattle in NE anymore.  They can get all the cattle they need in TX and KS.  Less competition down there now.  This leaves only a few major buyers in the yards here.  I spoke to the Cargill buyer in my area last week.  He told me that if I had some fats that I better get them on his list because they are filled for the next three weeks.  As show lists continue to grow I can only imagine the wait will get longer.

Learn a lesson from the sheep industry.  It is my understanding they had three for four packers.  Sheep producers were making money.  When I was in NCBA’s YCC group a few years back there was a buyer from Tyson in our group.  He told me that packers hate each other so bad they will buy cattle at a loss just so the other packer can’t own them.  That is what the sheep producers had going on.  One packer finally had enough of buying at a loss just to keep the doors open.  So they closed.  This left only two or three packers.  The reduced competition has allowed to the remaining packers to bid less for sheep, resulting in the packer making money and the sheep producer losing money.

I do  not understand the meat complex we have in the cattle biz.  Guys, unless you are a packer you sell CATTLE, not beef.  Japan in this case is not your customer.  The packer  or feedlot is your customer.  So do you need more end consumers or more customers?

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Posted by on January 31, 2013 in Uncategorized


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I do not pay very  much attention to cycles.  I will admit they do exist.  I see market cycles within the week, the month, a six month period, and even the year and beyond.  The thing is due to the way I market cattle the cycles do not matter at all to me.  Before I learned how to market cattle on a real time cash flow reckoning, I paid a lot of attention to this stuff.  I was listening to the wrong people.  Good thing I got that straightened out or else I’d probably be an unemployed production welder right now. (no offense to the welders out there.  I love welding myself.  It’s just that there have been a lot of layoffs in my area).  I have noticed another cycle.  The cycle of the cry baby

Right now we are somewhere near the top part of their cycle.  They tend to emerge when losses in the cattle biz go beyond $200/head, anything below that we do not hear from them very much.  So I conclude that any losses around $150ish and lower are acceptable losses.  (snorf)  There’s a sweet sexy term, acceptable loss.

I’ll give you a few examples.  In the middle of the last decade 04-05 the “experts” were predicting time periods when we would begin exporting to Japan again after BSE.  So the cattle feeders would load on a certain weight of cattle that would be market ready at that date.  Only the boarder did not open around that date.  These guys would bid a huge premium into feeders, thinking they would get it back when exports resumed.  They really believed they would get $10/ctw more for fats when exports resumed.  They did this several times for over a year.  Losing big money every time.  “It was all Japan’s fault.  They weren’t playing nicely and cooperating.  It was Canada’s fault, after all that is where the dirty cow originated form.  What am I to do?”  The peak cycle of the cry baby

I saw it again in 08-09 when the market fell out of bed.  In summer of 08 corn was high, fuel was high, feeders were high, fats were high.  Then bang!  This housing bubble thing popped.  “During the high run up in stocks the damn hedge fund managers put their money in commodities.  The CME has more corn contracts for bushels than we have bushels.  It’s just all funny money and bullshit contracts, that never should have been printed to begin with.  Then when stocks fell, they pulled out of commodities to buy cheap stocks, which is where they belong anyway, in stocks, and crashed our markets too.  Them assholes!”  Early 09 was peak cycle for the cry baby.

Here’s one that is more current.   Everybody is crying over the drought affecting their operation.  Costs are high (not as high as they were.  Feeders and corn were both higher than they are now).  But hey, it’s not my argument.  “Forage prices are too high.  I can’t afford them so I am forced to buy poorer quality forage.  We need rain.  The price of corn is too damn high.  We need to repeal the RFS.  What is the governments deal anyway?  Picking one corn user over the other.  It’s all ethanol’s fault.  We keep losing acres of forage production and pasture to the plow to raise corn for ethanol”.  Thing is folks I don’t know if this is even the peak yet.  “We need a Farm Bill!  We need to fix this fiscal cliff problem”.

Well I got some good news for you guys.  The 10 year cycle peaks on years that end in 3 (snorf)

Do you notice something here?  They always have something or someone to blame for their short comings.  Bud Williams told me once that in his lifetime of observing and working with ranchers that they are more than happy to lose money as long as they have someone to blame it on.

A few years back I got to go golfing with a few big shots.   During the day we were discussing the cattle biz, sipping whiskey, and smoking cigars.  They were all bragging, and yes it seemed like bragging, about how much money they were losing.  One asked me what my worst move was of the year so far, and I told him I made $17/head.  I got laughed at!  They said $17/head wasn’t worth scratching their nuts for.  I didn’t understand, still don’t.  It’s cool to lose money and not cool to make a small profit?  WTF!?

The cry babies are busy right now.  Last week was cattlemen’s convention in my state.  I didn’t go.  I was busy.  So this weekend I tried to get caught up on the news.  There they were on the TV and news articles bragging about how tough it is.  How resilient they are.  But oh man “If we don’t get some help, or relief soon it will be real bad and people will be out of business.”  That is another natural cycle folks.   Businesses fail all the time.  Bankruptcies happen all the time.  And have since the beginning of civilization.  And yet we have managed to make it to the point we are at now.  A time of such great abundance.  The cry babies didn’t make that happen!


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Posted by on December 11, 2012 in Uncategorized


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I’m not really sure how it happened, but I get quite a few people contact me for advice.  Not just about cattle either.  I have a few that are chronic callers.  They call me A LOT, and never do anything.  They never buy any cattle to get started.  They never pull the trigger to start that great business idea they have.  They just call me and run idea of the week by me.  Some numbers are programed into my phone so I know not to answer.

I asked one of them this question this last weekend.  “Do you ever just get tired of talking about it?”  I got a bit of awkward  silence.

Seriously people, at what time to you just get sick and tired of talking about it.  When I was a kid all I wanted to do was ride bulls and raise cattle.  I didn’t just talk about it, I went and did it.   The world we live in is about action.  Thing is, if you know where you are going, and prove you can get things done, the world has a way of making a path to your door.  If all you do is talk about it the world has a way of beating you down.

I have many ideas why people probably never get started.  I’ll discuss three here

First is the fear of success.  That’s right.  Some people have been broke for so long they just can’t imagine anything else.  Success would push them out of their comfort zone.  Having success first means you will have to finish things you start.  You will have to become a person of action.  This will bring new responsibilities.  When you begin to make money and build equity your current group of broke thinking friends will push you out of their group.  New opportunities will come your way, and at first that is weird.

Second is the fear of failure.  I don’t need to spend much time here.  We all know this fear.  These are the guys in the coffee shops I have blogged about before.  The ones that sit there and brag about how their life could have turned out different if they took that one shot.  I guess there must be some value in having the opportunity to tell that story.  Maybe we all heard them tell is so many times, or we hear it from loved ones like grandparents or our parents that we have concluded that is where the bar is set?  Just yesterday I was driving down the road and I was thinking of how I used to make fun of mediocre, and found myself wishing people would at least strive to be mediocre today.  Yes I think we’ve sunk that far.  After reading everybody’s thankful lists on Facebook, and seeing/hearing about the black Friday chaos, yes we have become a society of degenerates.

Third.  We do not love small.  I wish I had a nickel for every time I told someone to keep working that job in town, and go buy twenty head of cattle to get started.  Live off your job and reinvest profits from the cattle to expand your herd, only to have that person scoff at me.  “I can’t make a living off 20 head.”   I sat at a town hall meeting this summer with our Congressman and heard a kid in his early 20’s tell our rep what a joke the beginning farmer programs are.  He can’t get enough money to buy land and machinery, and make a decent living.  I gave that kid an earful.  (talking like that makes you a kid.  His classmates that came from nothing had to join the armed forces.  We call them men/women)  If we gave this kid $1,000,000 to start a farming operation, my guess is he’d be out of business in 10 years, and probably declare bankruptcy on 1.5 million.   If he can’t make it work as a small part time gig, what the hell makes him think he can make it full time?  I started with 20 head.  Built up from there.  It took 10 years to become a full time occupation for me.  Big operations don’t just happen over night for most of us.  They start small, and grow.  Think about it.  It took your parents/grandparents a lifetime to get to where they are.

If and when you decide to try you will have failures, and successes.  That is ok.  We all need to get our nose bloodied once in a while.

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Posted by on November 29, 2012 in Uncategorized


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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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