Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Kill Your Cows. (In a non-violent, vegetarian way)

I just finished reading a FANTASTIC book- Once Upon A Cow: Eliminating Excuses and Settling for Nothing but Success, by  Dr. Camilo Cruz. Since I started the book, I have been walking around the house muttering to myself about killing cows. Chris is probably pretty disturbed.
I'll fill you in on the cow story and then explain how that relates to taking 100% responsibility for your own personal success in any area of your life.  
The author starts the book with the tale of a wise man and his student who are traveling through the countryside looking for a place to stay the night. They come upon a family who takes them in and are shocked at the poverty this family is living in. Tiny living quarters, not enough to eat, basically barely surviving.  The one thing the family has going for them is a single cow.  The cow is the envy of their neighbors, and although it produces barely enough milk for them to survive on, they see it as the best thing in their life.  The family's life revolves around this cow- feeding, protecting and caring for it.
The wise man and student spend the night with the family, grateful for their kindness and wake up early to leave.  As they are passing the barn the student watches in horror as the wise man KILLS the family's cow and they continue on their way.  The student continues to be bothered by this.
The following year- the wise man and the student travel back to the same countryside and they approach same family's home. As they arrive at the spot where their tiny house had been, they see it has been replaced with a larger, nicer home.  The student fears that the family has become homeless or abandoned the area in despair and is shocked to see one of the family members come out of the large house, looking stronger and much healthier than on their previous trip.
The family- unaware that is was the wise man who had killed the cow, welcome them both in to the house warmly.  The family members tell the story of how their life has changed since the death of their cow.  The huge loss of what was the center of their universe shocked them for a while and they feared starvation and further poverty.  But that fear motivated change, and drove them to pursue new farming and business ventures to survive which grew and led to great improvement in their quality of life. 
As they left the family and continued on their way, the wise man explains to the amazed student:  "If I hadn't killed the cow they would still be living exactly as they were, barely surviving,miserable but telling themselves they were lucky to have their cow.  The loss of the cow freed/forced them to seek other opportunities and change their lives."

We develop our excuses (cows) at an early age. We use them, nurture and protect them, and even justify them until they are no longer excuses but have become our own self-created reality. The danger in this is waking up years down the road to realize we've lead a very mediocre existence and fallen short of our hopes for our life. The main point of the book is that life is too short to accept "good enough" or "getting by" and each person is responsible individually for their own success.
The book is not health focused, but can be applied to all aspects of your life. Sounds simple, but if you pay attention to how many excuses, rationalizations or justifications for average behavior you make every single day, the cows standing in your path start to be more and more apparent.  Think about what you could do- the changes and results that could be made by eliminating all excuses from your life?

Obviously- the author and the book explain this concept more eloquently I do. I encourage everyone to read the book- no matter what your individual struggles or areas of your life you wish you could improve, you will be inspired to "kill your cows" by facing your challenges head-on and taking responsibility for your own reality.
Quote of the day: "Balance. Food is one of life’s greatest pleasures. So is exercise. So is mental clarity. And health is the consummate ideal at the intersection of these components." Jessica Brookman, blogger.
PPS- Book is on sale at Amazon.com, see below for less than $8! 

1 comment:

  1. The book sounds interesting, I definitely want to check it out!