Do you grab life by the horns, or are you hanging on by the tail? If you are measuring your success by anyone else’s yardstick, you might be dangling behind.
“Never compare your insides to somebody else’s outsides.” – Michael Palmer
It’s hard to tell if we are doing anything “right” without some sort of comparison. We look to guides, mentors, instructions, and maps to lead the way. The evidence shows us that others have succeeded, so we should, too, right?
Who is to say that your untried way isn’t the best? There isn’t any evidence of it because it hasn’t been tried before. Do you give it a go, or do you follow the previous leader’s example? There can be a lot of pressure in our society to mimic the behaviors of those we look up to. It’s important to keep in mind that we can look up to others without needing to emulate them. When we take life by the horns, we need to make sure that we are each choosing our own unique path, not someone else’s.
Who do you want to be? Do you want to fit in? Do you want to be normal? How about ordinary? Keep in mind that most of the people in the spotlight got there because they don’t fit in and are not considered normal. The whole idea of “ordinary” is a load of bull. There’s no such thing as ordinary.
Life by the Horns
Imagine you’re riding a bucking bronco in a rodeo, and you’re hanging on for dear life. The longer you are up there, the better you’re doing. You’re also getting tired and sore. No matter what happens, you’re going to fall face down in the dirt eventually. Might as well hang on as long as you can. After all, you never know what your limits are until you find them.
Yes, I know that a bronco is a horse, not a bull. The point is that it can be whatever you want it to be. You get to choose your ride. Whether that ride is a wild mustang, a desk chair, or a piano bench is up to you. All options come with their own version of failure and success. The important thing is that you are choosing your ride, and you are working to stay on top of it. Every life path has bumps in the road that will result in failures. Those failures are how we learn.
It’s easy to see the handsome cowboy making the rodeo look fun and easy without taking a closer look at how he got there… including the bruises and broken bones.
Life by the Tail
Do you sort of want to ride the bronco, but you’re not sure you are up to the task? Some people just aren’t suited for the rodeo, but they try it anyway. They think that they can get by well enough by keeping their feet on the ground and just grab the handy “rope” on the back-end. Grabbing life by the tail is an analogy for trying to be something you’re not.
It’s easy to think “I want to be a movie star” when you’re at the theater swooning over your idol or watching the glamour of the academy awards. Have you looked into how much work that is? Between the crazy hours, audition rejections, invasive press, competition, and so much more, I’m grateful that we have people who love acting enough to put themselves through all of that for our entertainment. They make it look easy, so all we see is the success of the next big film.
Someone who goes for that life when they only want the success without the life, is going to get what’s coming to them hanging out around the business end of the bull. The result: they feel like crap. When people feel like crap after comparing themselves with others, they judge and put other people down to try to make themselves feel better. It doesn’t work. They’re still hanging on to the tail. The nice thing is that they can choose to let go any time.
Why hang out behind the bronco when you could sit atop a pony or a nice sedan? Success is on each of our terms to choose based on what is going to make us truly happy. If you’re not happy where you are, why wait to choose something else? No one says it will be easy, but when you find the right ride, the wipe outs are generally worth it.
One More Option
You could try grabbing life by the cajones, but I don’t recommend it. Karma abhors a showoff, and at least one of two things are bound to happen: you’ll either get pissed off or pissed on. Avoid this by maintaining a healthy level of humility. No one is immune to failure. It’s always better to grab life by the horns knowing that you will fall occasionally. When that happens, dust yourself off, and try again.
Personally, I’m up for a bit of a wild ride. My version of wild. I don’t expect anyone else to live life my way, and I certainly don’t expect them to get hauled along behind my life. I want everyone around me living their own personal passion in their way, failures and all.
Whether your “Life by the Horns” is a bronco, a unicorn, or a sensible Volvo, you get to decide what you want your daily choices to look like. Comparing our lives and our successes to those of others only sets us up for being dragged behind someone else’s ride.