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What does it mean to be a life-long learner?

What does it mean to be a life-long learner?

We hear this a lot. Does that mean go to a class or seminar once a year? Read books? Hire a life coach? Attend annual meetings? Maybe. Maybe not.

Let’s make it really simple. If we do the same task more than once (and we often do), we should:

  1. Make sure this is something we need to be doing

  2. Get better results with successive attempts (on average), and/or

  3. Get the same results in less time and/or with less work, and/or at lower cost, or

  4. Figure out how to not even have to do it.

If we are not getting more done with less effort (effort often equals expense), then maybe we need to look outside for some other ideas, instruction, or even someone else who will do it for us.


Consider some examples:

  • · Pastures moves should get easier for cows, pairs, cowboys and horses over time. In fact, over time, you will most likely need to slow your cows down on moving day.

  • If you’re tagging calves but don’t have time to enter, analyze and make management decisions using the data, maybe you don’t need to be tagging.

  • If you’re always fighting fires that start along a highway, maybe you need a fire break

  • If you doctor a lot of scour calves, maybe you need to change your herd management at, and leading up to calving time

  • If you don’t have enough time in the day, maybe you need to commit to less or hire someone to take a few things off your plate.

  • If you always get to the end of the year with a shoebox (or a truckload) of receipts for the tax man and only a vague idea if you’ve made any money or not, you need a bookkeeper

There is no doubt that success, especially in ranching, requires persistence, a reasonable degree of stubbornness, and toughness. But don’t carry that too far and let it keep you from getting better. Save the grit for unexpected circumstances (e.g. the calf born in the Mother’s Day blizzard, the car accident on the highway). A life-long learner will make the routine stuff easier, which in turn, leaves one better prepared for the real crises.

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