Be a Buffalo

Strength in Adversity- what does that mean? To me, it means you can see the mountain top while hiking, the forest while surrounded by tall trees. Keeping an eye on the goal, (even if only in your mind) is paramount to accomplishment.

Growing up in Oklahoma, I saw many different weather extremes; one of my favorite times of year was spring. I loved the storms that moved across our state. Lightning and thunder, the excitement of tornadoes, and the fresh smell of rain. As many of you know, the two largest industries in Oklahoma are Energy (Oil and Gas) and Agriculture (Farming and Ranching). Due to that, there’s hardly a field in our state that doesn’t have both cattle and pump jacks- but the sight of a buffalo on the grass prairie is truly something to see- Strong and Bold, Confident and calm- that’s the American Bison. Combining the Oklahoma weather and animals such as cattle and the buffalo, produces an incredible life lesson from a story I read years ago.

Imagine a large storm approaching from the west, dark clouds, accented with the deep rumble of thunder, frequent lightning strikes, and the wind is increasing. Perhaps in this scenario, you’ve seen cattle all grouped up in the far corner of a field together. They do this just before a storm. They attempt to get as far away from the threat as possible. That seems logical, get away from the pending threat and team up for safety. However, Bison do something completely opposite of logic- They run, headfirst, into the approaching wind and rain! They know the sooner you can address something, the sooner you can resolve it. Let me explain, what’s easier to extinguish, a small campfire or a large raging forest fire? By running into the storm, as it’s moving toward you, one will actually spend less time in the rain. Plus, the odds are it’s not as severe as it will get by waiting until the last minute. Cattle, on the other hand, aren’t that smart- they run away from the storm, until they can’t run any further, and bear the brunt of the wind and hail. Stuck in the corner between fences, and with no plan or exit strategy.

Life is a series of storms, some more severe than others. Do you address them head on? Do you run into it, knowing it will rain, it may hail, but at least you did something proactive to improve the situation? Or do you run away from adversity until you can’t run away any further, trapped by a fence and forced to endure the rain at the storm’s mercy.

Who do you think see’s the sunset first? The Buffalo who ran west into the storm and emerged on the other side or the cow who stood helpless and trapped. I believe we’re all guilty of acting like a cow with an approaching storm, but I challenge you to be more like a Buffalo- confident, strong, and BOLD! Action beats deliberation.