Action Catalyst Blog

Be The Buffalo: The mentality of how ultra-performers respond to challenges

 

There is a great lesson about success and leadership from studying the way that buffalo and cows respond to storms.

In Co, where I grew up, we are world famous for the Rocky Mountains. What a lot of people don’t realize however is that the state is divided almost exactly in half. And to the eastern part of the state are the great Kansas plains. Because of that unique topographical landscape we are one of the few places in the world where there are both buffalo and cows in such close proximity.

When storms come they almost always brew from the west and roll out towards the east.

What cows do is very natural. Cows sense the storm coming from the west and so they start to try to run toward the east. The only problem with that is that if you know anything about cows you know they aren’t very fast.

So the storm catches up with the cows rather quickly. And without knowing any better the cows continue to try to outrun the storm. But instead of outrunning the storm they actually run right along with the storm. Maximizing the amount of pain and time and frustration they experience from that storm!

Isn’t that stupid?

Humans do the same thing all of the time. We spend so much of our lives constantly trying to avoid the inevitable challenges that come along with the difficult circumstances that our very own choices have led us to be in.

People who are in debt constantly try to find ways around paying their bills. People who are unhealthy make rationalizations for why they can’t do anything about it or why it doesn’t matter. People who are struggling in their marriage are often trying to avoid the difficult but meaningful conversations that need to be had to reconcile that relationship. Salespeople do everything to try and avoid making a sales call.

And the key insight that ultra-performers have made that not yet necessarily everyone else has is this: Ultra-performers realize that problems that are procrastinate on are only amplified.

Waiting always makes it worse.

What buffalo do on the other hand is very unique for the animal kingdom. Buffalo wait for the storm to cross right over the crest of the peak of the mountaintop and as the storm rolls over the ridge the buffalo turn and charge directly into the storm.

Instead of running east away from the storm they run west directly at the storm. By running at the storm they run straight through it. Minimizing the amount of pain and time and frustration they experience from that storm.

Notice how it’s the exact same storm. It’s such a great metaphor for all of us because all of us are dealing with the same types of storms.

We all have some relationship issue or health battle or financial struggle.

And we don’t always get to choose whether or not we have storms. The only choice we get to have is how we respond to those storms.

And more specifically here, when we respond to those storms.

This buffalo mentality is very representative of the Take the Stairs mindset of ultra-performers and Multipliers.

They charge directly into problems because they realize that procrastination and indulgence are simply creditors that charge you interest.

Which direction are you heading?

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