LifeThought: Be like a Buffalo, not like a Cow

Face the storms of life like a Buffalo, not like a Cow

When children are asked what they want to be when they grow up, many answer with fireman, or doctor, or teacher, etc. Me? I wanted to be a buffalo!

When I was a young boy, I had an encounter with a buffalo at our local zoo. I was standing near the buffalo enclosure when one of them charged and rammed the fence right where we were standing. I was in awe of its power. From that moment on, I always wanted to be a buffalo when I grew up.

Recently, I learned wanting to be a buffalo is actually a great desire–well, at least wanting to be “like” a buffalo. Sadly, I’ve spent much of my life being more like a cow. I’ll explain.

In his book, Take the Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success, Rory Vaden explains a phenomenon observed frequently on the Colorado plains, which are home to cow and buffalo alike. When storms approach, the two animals react in opposite ways. Cows will start moving away from the approaching storm–actually traveling in the same direction as the storm. Buffalo, however, will move toward the storm, rather than away from it.

Consequently, by running into the storm, the buffalo experience the pain of the storm sooner because they charge at it. The duration of the storm, however, is less because they keep moving through it. Contrast that to the cows, which hope to run away from the storm. The storm inevitably catches them and they experience its painful forces for a longer duration because they are traveling in the same direction.

The analogy for our lives should be obvious. We should be like buffalo and proactively face the storms of life, dealing with them quickly, experiencing the pain and moving through it. Unfortunately, most of us are like cows. We see the storm approaching but want to run from it, hoping to put some distance between us and the pain we know is coming.

I’m embarrassed to say I’ve been a cow far too often in my life. Some of the storms have been of my own making and I had hoped they would just disappear, or at least dissipate. Instead of being proactive and honest about what I had done, I ran and hoped it wouldn’t catch up. This is never a good plan. Consequently, I’ve caused great pain to myself and others, because the storms usually catch us. The pain was unavoidable, but it was increased by my not dealing with it right away.

Learn from my mistakes and from Rory Vaden’s illustration. Face your storms head-on, like a buffalo, rather than trying to outrun them like a cow.


This is one of my daily “LifeThoughts” posts. If you enjoyed this, or any of my other posts, I’d be honored if you’d share it with your friends and followers!

Do you agree or disagree with what I’ve written? I’d love to hear your comments!

2 Responses to LifeThought: Be like a Buffalo, not like a Cow

  1. TL Walters March 10, 2014 at 12:14 PM #

    Thanks Bruce! Really enjoyed the post. You are always an inspiration. Keep up the great work.

  2. Marie December 15, 2014 at 10:51 PM #

    Bruce-
    Your podcast for these thoughts were great I really enjoyed the quote about success and it put things in perspective. I have started a gratitude journal and I am thankful for consistency. I have listened to a couple of your podcasts and I am going to conntinue. I someday want to become a lifecoach. I have went in many directions. Thank you Bruce for inspiring me to be truly myself always.

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