Trying to be someone else

I have been watching and participating in horse and livestock handling seminars for a long time.  One of the fascinating things to me is how some of the teachers have such a huge presence and how the followers go from following the craft or skill to making every decision and thought on what the guru would do.

The ones that seem to have the most presence are the ones that are the harshest on the students.  For some reason this seems to create a need to please, and so some seem to worship them to try to get their approval.  I don’t get it.

I always hear statements like I will never be half as good as so and so was.  Why not? And why would you try to compare it on a certain level?  Until you start competing at a competition, it is not about being better than someone else, but to improve your own skill level to the level you are willing or capable of achieving.

In my own situation, I got caught up in this.  I was so enamored by the new skills I was learning and thought it was the greatest thing ever.  After awhile I started to see that I was getting ego-based results that impressed folks and myself.  After some time I started seeing my actions were getting results, but the animals I was working with were not as content with it as I was.  I think I may be a little over sensitive to animals sometimes, so it helped me to question if what I was doing was right.  I felt I was physically doing things one way, but talking about it another.  Just because you have the feel-good words to describe what you are doing, it does not mean you are giving the animal you are working with the best deal.

I watched a real good fellow in the horse industry for several years struggle.  He was an apprentice under a real popular horse guru.  When he finally quit using that person’s name and started doing his own thing, his horsemanship really improved. He went from trying to get work to having more than he can handle. He was able to help a lot more people.  He and his mentor are still friends, but now I think he is helping his mentor with some things.  Isn’t that great?  It’s great on both accounts.  The student for improving and the teacher for still wanting to learn more.

I like to use the greats to inspire me to do things I did not know were possible.  I am no longer interested in ego-based animal interaction. Though I still fall off the wagon once in a while. What I am interested in is learning how to work with animals to improve humans’ quality of life without diminishing the animals’ quality of life.  There are limits to what we can ask of animals to do for us.  We can put the line out there much farther if we learn to work with the animals in a better way, but there is a line.

This is what I think the truly great animal communicators can do for us.  Inspire us.  Help us to not make unneeded mistakes.  Save us time in our learning.

So be yourself, have a strong desire to improve yourself to what you want to be, and don’t be afraid to not do what everyone else is doing.  If everyone is doing it, it may be the easy way out. You will be comfortable because you fit in, but it may not be the best way.

For it to be the best for you, it has to be you not someone else.

~ Curt Pate

6 thoughts on “Trying to be someone else

  1. Mentors4Growth

    On the money Curt. Nice piece.
    My Mentor of 20 years told me I had choices when working with someone, and the choice depends on the situation.
    Style A is the Expert choice where we just need to know the right answer – the barn’s on fire, what’s the quickest way of getting the horses out? Just tell me…
    Style B is the Collaborate choice – let’s work together to find the very best way to do this. It’s takes time and patience, but the results are excellent.
    Style C is the Consensus choice – the meet me half way option. Let’s negotiate a price for this bull. Not usually the greatest result, but both parties leave relatively happy.
    Style D is the Whatever choice. It really doesn’t matter what you chose to do, just do it. Don’t spend more than 5 seconds thinking about it.
    What’s interesting is that a lot of Guru’s only know style A, and they use it for everything. People around them become sheep and are happy for someone else to take the decision making responsibility away from them. I think that’s darn lazy. 🙂

  2. Dean

    Curt, another thought provoking post. I think for many of us, our fathers are the mentors we seek to please. In that relationship there generally is not a shortage of “pressure”. As I have matured, I have chosen the things that I know I will not do as well as my Dad and really worked on the things I do better (in my opinion). I think that’s the best we can hope for our kids. Reading your glowing tribute to Mesa, I can’t help but think of my daughter starting her own path and how proud I am of her choices and the young woman she is becoming.

    I am curious if you think that there is a true difference in how you parented your children as compared to how you were parented? A good friend of mine and I were discussing this and we both feel that we are much “softer” on our kids than our parents were. If we think of ourselves as the animal receiving pressure, could it be that we just perceive that pressure differently when we apply it as compared to being pressured? Maybe our childhood was not as oppressive as we once thought!

    Dean (aka Coy)

  3. curtpate Post author

    It’s nice to get comments from people I really respect. I was raised in a split family so I could make one set mad and flee to the other. Most of my mentoring came from my grandfather.

    My kids were very different because of home schooling and traveling all the time we were always together and they were always learning from lots of interesting people.

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