It had been a long tough winter for the cowboy. His day to day had turned to an endless loop of chasing his tail with sick cattle and frozen pipes. It seemed to him that everything had worked against him…he worked himself ragged and became so depressed that his wife insisted that he seek psychiatric help. After an initial consultation, the cowboy was required to attend a joint therapy session with two other patients.
“To help me determine your state of mind,” said the psychiatrist to the group, “I’m going to start by asking each of you to answer a question.” To the woman in the group, he asked, “What is the opposite of sadness?” After careful thought, she responded, “That would be joy.”
“And the opposite of depression?” he asked a young man. The young man pondered the question and then cautiously replied, “Elation.”
“And you, sir” the psychiatrist said to the cowboy, “How about the opposite of woe?” Wanting to exhibit his razor sharp mind, the cowboy answered decisively… “Any fool knows that…… the opposite of woe is giddy-up.”
Our cowboy’s tale of becoming overwhelmed by the day to day struggles makes me think of the quote from the most successful investor of the 20th century – Warren Buffett. “I insist on a lot of time being spent, almost every day, to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. I read and think. So I do more reading and thinking, and make less impulse decisions than most people in business. I do it because I like this kind of life.”
Buffett’s wisdom shows his dependence on valuing the time to think – away from distractions and above the fray. So many business owners get caught working “IN” the business and not “ON” their business. Stepping back and focusing on big picture results and not on all the endless activities allows some much needed clarity.
“Work Smarter Not Harder” is true, yet it is often misinterpreted. When people hear it they tend to infer it as a reason NOT to work hard. Look at the phrase again “Work Smarter Not Harder”; nowhere in the statement did it say to lower the level of work. We all have 168 hours given to us each week…. you can make a difference or make excuses, but you can’t do both.
How does this correlate to Tama County’s economy? With all of the businesses that make up our economy, we must take the time to think of our work or business in terms of big picture results and not merely the daily activities. Just because you clocked 15 hours doing lots of activities doesn’t mean anything was really completed that truly added to the bottom line.
As we continue to build our economy, we all need to remember to take the time to step back and work ON our businesses, then we can move forward with a well thought out plan and then say….. GIDDY-UP!