6 Money (and Life!) Lessons I’ve Picked Up From Cowboys

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money lessons from cowboysMy wife and I sometimes find a tv show we both like and we’ll use it as a way to spend time together and chill-out – particularly in the evenings.

The latest one we discovered is about three young(er) cowboys and their families from Alabama. In The Cowboy Way (Amazon Prime), Bubba, Booger (yes, that’s what they call him) and Cody share their life and work they do together with a cattle company.

And it’s not an easy life – but they seem to enjoy it and the camaraderie that goes along with it.

I’ve found the series fascinating, as the cowboys are open about their struggles and joys. All three are partners in the Faith Cattle Company and much of the show focuses on their work and how they make money – trading cattle and / or raising cattle of their own.

And, so being someone who likes to relate life and money matters – I thought it would be interesting to share some of the things I’ve picked up from the fellas and how I (we all) can apply it to our life and financial situations.

1. Have faith

From the get-go you understand that cowboy’ing is not always a smooth way of life. There is a lot of work to do, early mornings and scrapes / bruises. Cattle aren’t something that you can just take a vacation from.

There is also a fair amount of risk involved in cattle. What you may pay for a cow one day, may be less if you sell it the next day, or months later. The market is always fluctuating.

This can cause some concern, but the guys realize if they do their job of caring for and feeding the cattle, they’ll likely come out ahead.

It takes a certain amount of faith among the cowboys (and “the Good Lord” as Cody likes to say) to trust each other and know their hard work will pay dividends in the end. This is also something that I can apply to my own life. I can easily get carried away in my anxious thoughts of “what-ifs” and not take a step back and see things in perspective, knowing that God ultimately has the final say and control.

2. Do good

Many times, the show will feature the cowboys going out and rescuing a neighbor’s wayward cattle.

When they bring the cow back to its owner, they’ll often do it not expecting anything in return – even if the neighbor offers to pay.

In their smaller community, they realize thatdo unto others.. isn’t just a nice saying, but something worth practicing.

3. Your reputation follows you

Along with the previous point, they guys are often actively investing in their reputations. They understand that word travels fast among ranchers / farmers and if they do a good job for one,  word will travel.

But if they perform badly, this will precede them and is likely to require a lot more work for them to get others to trust them / find other work. One of their favorite sayings is “cowboy contract” – meaning a handshake and your word will seal a deal (though they still imply legal contracts when necessary).

In several episodes, you’ll see how the cowboys earn several big jobs based solely on what the employer heard about them.

4. Invest in tangibles

Cody Harris, one of the cowboys, wrote a “cowboy wisdom” book and shares how the only stock he owns is liveSTOCK and land. While not a common approach to investing in the “normal” world, he says that having something you can feel / touch and experience today is better than years down the road when you may never get to enjoy it (like 401k, mutual funds, stocks, etc our culture likes to push on us).

Many of their cattle trades / deals can net the cowboys a fair amount of money that is earned by their own sweat / blood (and – of course – upfront investment).

While they are building “empires” to leave their children, they seem much more interested in the here / now and about the afterlife.

Since they enjoy what they are doing – they’ll likely never stop doing it /or retire.

It often seems to me that our culture treats our present work as something we have to endure before we get to “have fun” or enjoy life.

5. Try new ways to make money

Most of the guys have an entrepreneurial spirit.

Several episodes follow the guys when they come up with an idea to open a restaurant to serve their beef. While only one has cooking experience, it’s not something one would think they’d be very successful at.

But they spend a fair amount of time learning from other restaurant owners and chefs and eventually open up a “pop-up” restaurant that does very well.

They soon realize the time it will take for them to continue on with it and see time with their family as more important than starting a restaurant.

Even through the idea didn’t pan out – they seem to always be open to news ways of making money and trying out new things.

6. Have other things going on

While the guys spend the majority of their time on the cattle business – they also have other side hussles going on.

One builds houses, another trains horses and Cody has an annual rodeo competition he puts on that is fairly lucrative.

I can relate to this – as I like have my hands in other things too – besides the day job. Makes life a bit more interesting.

Closing

These are just a few of the things I’ve learned while watching the show as it applies to money (and life!). Sometimes I get very narrow-minded in thinking “this is the only way to live” and when you see others living differently, it opens the mind to other possibilities.

Not everyone needs / wants the house, big car, boat in the driveway plus millions in the bank (that you likely won’t see until you’re 70).

Have you seen the show? What things have you learned from the cowboys?

You can catch The Cowboy Way on Amazon Prime or INSP TV. More info.

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