The Cowboy Way

Beth Cover

You can read this magazine issue online! See articles on page 13 (Beth Bryce) and page 24 (The Cowboy Way of Life)

“Cowboys are heroic because they exercise human courage on a daily basis. They live with danger. They take chances. They sweat, they bleed, and they burn in the summer and freeze in the winter. They find out how much a mere human can do, and then they do a little more. They reach beyond themselves”. – John Erickson, author, Some Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys (1999)

Remember when the simple things in life were inspiring rather than the monumental accomplishments and lavish trips well-documented on your friend’s Facebook page? In my opinion what the world needs more of is simplicity. Funny thing about inspiration, it comes in many shapes, sizes, and forms. It means different things to different people. Simple things like a quote, a sunset, a Special Olympics athlete, or the grit of single mother barely making ends meet are inspiring. Personally I find cowboys inspiring and not just for their raw good looks, however, Matthew McConaughey in a Stetson ain’t bad on the eyes. It’s their character and the simple way they live their lives. The Cowboy’s code can offer meaningful inspiration and yet, simple guidance.

Excerpts from James P. Owen, Cowboy Ethics (2004):

1.Live each day with courage – Real courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway. There is more to courage than jumping into a river to save someone’s life. It’s also being willing to speak up and say that something isn’t right.

2.Take pride in your work – What your teacher told you back in first grade still holds true: Anything worth doing is worth doing well.

3.Always finish what you start – Cowboys hate quitters. They hate whining and complaining almost as much because those things have the stench of quitting. When you are riding through hell, keep riding.

4.Do what has to be done – To the cowboy, it was a matter of honor to do the right thing even, and especially, when the odds were fearsomely stacked against him.

5.Be tough, but fair – The Golden Rule was not something learned in Sunday school. The principle of “do unto others what you would have them do unto you” was nothing more and nothing less than a key to survival.

6.When you make a promise, keep it –What we need more today is someone we can trust and someone we can count on. A man is only as good as his word.

7.Ride for the brand – The cowboy’s greatest devotion was to his calling and his way of life. They were intensely loyal to the outfit they were working for and would fight to the death for it.

8.Talk less and say more – Cowboys were doers, not talkers. And when they did talk they got straight to the point. Cowboys also understood when there’s nothing more to say, don’t be saying it.

9.Remember that some things aren’t for sale – To the cowboy, the best things in life aren’t “things”. No amount of money is enough to make him cheapen and dishonor the way of life he has chosen.

10.Know where to draw the line – Losing integrity most often happens by small degrees, as corners are cut and minor misdeeds rationalized. For the cowboy, there’s a right and a wrong and nothing in between.

Even in the movies old school cowboys like John Wayne and Clint Eastwood or the new, sexy breed, Jamie Foxx, followed this code. While my heroes have always included cowboys, we can all be Sheroes in our own lives. Girlfriend, let’s put on our cowboy hats and saddle up ~ we’ve got miles to ride and work to be done.

Giddeeyup partner!

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