Finding What You Look For

by Jordan Steele

close up cattle

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses” is an Abraham Lincoln quote that I think about nearly everyday. To me it’s all about life’s perceptions and choosing your mindset. We get to choose our attitude. I have noticed this in multiple situations, and more and more as I get older.

During the summer, my wife and I help her dad care for a couple sets of yearling cattle on big mountain ranches. Several pastures are over 5,000 acres and will have groups of 600-1000 head of yearlings in them. Most of the time, it is just us out there so we can be pretty spread out when we start gathering. It’s embarrassing to come out with a group of cattle only to see there is another small group following a distance behind. It makes you feel blind and incompetent as a cowboy! However, from a different perception I started good motion with the first set of cattle and it drew the second group out from hiding. Both ideas could be right. It is possible I was looking for elk sheds and totally missed the cattle, or it is possible my stockmanship was on that day. The point is, my mindset will choose how much I enjoy the day. I can think of being tired and thirsty, or I can think of how blessed I am to ride a good horse in a beautiful country.

I have realized during the winter when we are traveling to Ranching for Profit Schools and Executive Link meetings, there is no such thing as a Monday through Friday 40 hour work week. Airports and gas stations are always busy and always have employees working. Some people are on work trips and some are on vacation, but the airport and all the support activities are at work. How many times have you traveled on a holiday or a weekend and overlooked all the people working? Don’t you think they wanted to be home with their families instead? That’s highly likely, but they were working instead.

I have also noticed this in the current economy with service industry workers. The labor situation is tough right now, and customer service industries are feeling the pain. It’s easy to complain about slow or rude service at a restaurant. Once again it is up to us to choose our attitude. Should I leave less of a tip because they were slow or rude? Or should I leave a big tip and thank the server for showing up and working? Did we ask the server how their day was going? Or just assume they were grumpy and lazy? It is easy to complain about the self-checkout at grocery stores, no argument there. However I am still there buying something, so they satisfied a need for me. If that business has chosen to use the self-checkout stations, maybe that was the only choice to keep the business open. It is my choice to use the store, or not.

The first time I heard “you will get what you look for” was actually in reference to a rancher moving to a new area. They asked the first neighbor about the other neighbors because they had bad experiences from their past ranch. Their neighbor replied well if you look for bad neighbors, you will find bad neighbors and if you look for good neighbors, you will find good neighbors.  

As the dog days of summer drag on I suggest you ask yourself, “what am I looking for here?” with every choice you have. It takes work to have a positive mindset, but I believe it is worth the effort.

4 Responses to “Finding What You Look For”

July 26, 2023 at 6:59 am, Mark Townsend said:

Thanks as always for the healthy dose of perspective; 30 CCs of “humble-amine” straight to the dome really improves one’s health.


July 26, 2023 at 7:27 am, Tara Smith said:

This is great, Jordan!


July 26, 2023 at 4:05 pm, Ben Habig said:

Good work Jordan.


July 27, 2023 at 4:22 pm, Chuck McAfee said:

Yes, we really do define our own situation, and either inadvertently or purposefully find what we are looking for .


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