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I have been fortunate in my life to have many great teachers. For the most part, I have been a student of observation. I really can’t think of any principles or concepts learned from someone teaching me directly, but I give credit to many people that I have learned from. Chief among that group are my parents. Being raised by entrepreneurs, I have learned a great deal with respect to risk, sacrifice, reward, hard work, ingenuity, character and defeat. I have heard my father say countless times, “People will always rise to the level of their own incompetence.”
In my youth, I’d think to myself, “What the blankety-blank does that mean?!” While taking a business course in college, I learned of the “Peter Principle,” which was formulated by Laurence J. Peter. The Peter Principle is the theory that employees no longer get promoted once they have reached the ceiling of their ability.
The Peter Principle has so many applications that are not limited only to business or business management. It has real-world applications and can serve to motivate us to advance ourselves in many ways, whether professional, social, health, spiritual, etc. etc. If life can be measured by a series of successes and advancements, when will you meet the plateau of advancement or failure?
This application can also be applied to our horses. Have you had the experience of discussing the levels of your horse’s ability with your trainer, as in, is this horse an Open, Non-Pro or Amateur horse? Knowing your horse’s ability and applying the Peter Principal can help you achieve your goals or make the necessary changes to curb future frustration. Having your trainer as an ally is important, so foster that mutually beneficial relationship. We all need each other.
If you are a competitor, how many times have you opened up Quarter Horse News, seen someone holding up their champion’s buckle and said to yourself, “I want to achieve that?” If you say you haven’t, are you being honest? If you are a breeder, the same question applies. Are you taking the necessary steps to advance yourself to achieve your goals? One of my very favorite quotes:
“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that!” —Rocky Balboa
I do not care that this is from a fictional character – there is great power and truth in those words!
From the day I was born, I have been taught an eternal principal – each one of us is a son or daughter of God created in His image and that our destiny is without limit. If what I have been taught is true, then my ceiling of incompetence is only a matter of placing a limit on myself. If what I have been taught is true, then my children’s ceiling of incompetence is without limit. Yours is without limit. Mind over matter, right? Mind over matter. Paul said in Romans 8:17 (KJV) “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Though I may fall, I can stand up, dust myself off and get back on that dang horse! I have no limit unless I give up.
Who do you want to be? What do you want to achieve? If life can be defined as a three-act play, I have entered into the second act of my life. What I thought the definition of happiness was has changed from the first act to the second. I’m sure it will change again in 30 more years when I reach the third and final act. To me, happiness or success is not wealth, notoriety and power. Success is looking into my family’s eyes and seeing they know they are loved and that I hold them most precious in my life.
With that being said, I am unashamed to say that I’d like wealth and success in my business ventures. I want to stand the very best stallions in the world. I want to breed a futurity champion. I’d like to achieve success as a rider and make the Hall of Fame. I’m unashamed to say what my goals are, and I will work my butt off to achieve them. I refuse to reach my ceiling of incompetence.
So my question to you is: Who are you and what do you want out of this one life you live?
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