Seven Lessons about Life That I Learned From Milking a Cow

I'm part of a vanishing breed that really did milk a cow every morning before school.

Last week, speaking to a state convention about leadership and success, I shared insights gained from these crack-of-dawn experiences.

I started with the common phrase that cows "give milk." This makes it sound like the cow meets you at the fence, milk already in a container, begging you to take her gift. The truth is quite different.

Lesson One: Cows don't give milk. You have to go out of your way to take it.
Life Application: Prosperity doesn't just come to you. You have to make it happen.

Then, as you're taking the milk, you make two other discoveries.

Lesson Two: Cows don't like cold hands.
Life Application: People with a warm touch have greater success.

Lesson Three: She will only kick the bucket over when it's almost full.
Life Application: Bad things will happen — and at the worst of times.

For city-folk to understand the fourth lesson, you have to picture yourself sitting on a milking stool, tugging away, your mind off on some distant subject. Just then the cow decides to swat a fly with her tail. Unfortunately, the side of your head is directly in her trajectory. That's when you learn:

Lesson Four: Forget the horns — it's the tail that hurts.
Life Application: What you watch for is never what blindsides you.

In that same instant you discover:

Lesson Five: You can't move very fast seated on a stool.
Life Application: Once you sit down, you're at the mercy of the world.

Then there are two final lessons:

Lesson Six: When she says you're finished, you're finished.
Life Application: Accept what you can't control and get on with your life.

Lesson Seven: Milk comes from the back end of cows. So does other stuff.
Life Application: Positioning is everything.

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