Boy Scouts and Bull Riders
Bull riding is the ultimate sports mismatch. Your opponent will always be bigger and stronger than you. It’s been man against beast since the beginning of time, and bull riding is classic David vs. Goliath for the modern age. You know this going in.
That being said, winning is one thing. Getting prepared to win is a whole different animal. When it comes to getting ready, you’d need to think like a Boy Scout. To win the battle, you need to ride prepared.
Always be prepared – that’s the Boy Scout motto. It’s the same thought process for winning bull riders - if you’re going to ride, ride prepared. To you, it’s a thrilling challenge. To the animal you’re riding, it’s survival in its most basic form. Be prepared to do battle. Prepare yourself to walk away successfully when the whistle blows.
You’ve heard people say the term “feeling like a caged animal.” The first thing a caged animal will do when they sense an opening is try to escape. A bull’s no different, but before he can feel free he needs to get you off his back. That’s why he bucks. The best buckers tend to have the best survival instincts. Boy scouts get badges for survival instincts. For eight seconds, your instincts and output need to exceed the bull’s. The best badges for this come in gold.
A bull can still only move six ways – up, down, left, right, forwards and backwards. As a bull rider, it’s your job to be prepared for each of these options with the appropriate level of reaction. This should be ingrained instinct in you through experience and education by the time you nod your head.
I don’t know what they call the earliest level of Boy Scout, or even the highest for that matter. What I do know is that for every step in the progress they have someone giving them direction and feedback. They don’t get thrown to the wolves to see if they can survive a night in the wilderness. They get prepared. Everyone should have a coach to give them honest, accurate feedback along the way. Everyone – Boy Scouts to bull riders – needs to be prepared to know how to survive the “wolves.”
Michael Jordan had a coach. Tiger Woods had a coach. True professionals in every sport at every level have coaches. It’s how professionals prepare. If you don’t know how to ride correctly, get a coach. If you’ve had previous success, you’ll need feedback to get even better. Either way, get experienced help – often. To get better, get prepared. To stay prepared, stay humble.
In the words of retired Navy Seal Team Commander Jocko Willink, “When you lack humility, you can’t listen to anyone else… you can’t even do a solid, honest assessment of yourself. So you’re not going to improve.” If you are un-coachable you are untrainable. Be prepared to keep improving. (By the way, I think Navy Seals are the most bad ass Boy Scouts in the world!)
No one was born knowing how to ride bulls. Wanting to – maybe. Knowing how – no. We all have to start somewhere. The more prepared we are sooner, the faster we’ll get there. So when it comes to winning bull riders, maybe there’s a little bit of Boy Scout in us all.
You can earn your badges, buckles or both in life. In bull riding, you earn them by being prepared physically and mentally to ride each bull you’ve drawn. Always be prepared. Your opponent is. The most prepared one will win each battle.
Be A monster in the Making. Nod your head. I've got your back.