Refusing to follow the crowd isn’t always a bad thing, especially if you can see the crowd is about to go off a cliff. However, being stubborn just for the sake of being stubborn isn’t smart either.
This weekend we had the annual calf branding party out at the family ranch. Everything was going great. We finished the calf branding portion of the fun with no major incidents, and it was time to deal with the mammas.
We pushed them into a narrow, gated area that guided them through an adult-sized shoot. Once the cows go into this area, there’s only one way out—through the shoot. Generally, once you get a few cows going down this path, the others follow. We have to close gates and put poles in occasionally to stop the moving traffic of hooves so we can doctor up the sick ones and give them all a nice liquid protection of misquote repellant, but at the end of the shoot is freedom for the cow.
With only two cows left, the work had gone so smoothly we were about to finish early—that is until the cow in the front refused to enter the shoot. No amount of poking or smacking on the butt, moved this stubborn animal. We even tried using the poor cow stuck behind miss stubborn to see if she could be pushed to freedom. Nope. Nope. Nope.
My father-in-law decided to leave the shoot wide open and told all of us to go in for lunch. “Maybe then she’ll come out on her own.”
We return over an hour later, but the stubborn cow still stood there refusing to enter the shoot–literally only a few steps from freedom. So, we release the calves we branded earlier, thinking her motivation to be with her baby would get her to move. Again, a big fat no. The cow behind the stubborn one had had enough and did its darndest to get the stupid animal to budge, but to no avail. It wasn’t until my father-in-law retrieved a juiced up hot-shot from the bigger cattle company down the road and gave that cow a shocking stab of electricity that it finally followed where the others had gone, after suffering for needless hours in a confined space.
We humans sometimes do stupid things like this. If you’re struggling to think of one, allow me. For example—If my parents would quit bugging me about my grades maybe I’d try harder.
Think about that. Your stubbornness is going to have a negative effect on your future, especially if you dig your heels in long enough. So the next time you’re thinking about not following where you’ve been told to go, take a moment to really consider why. If it’s just for the sake of stubbornness, may I strongly suggest you stop it.