The Maschhoffs Pork Production NJAS scholarship winner Morgan Cox Danika Miller Lexi Marek Jackson Johnson and Caleb Grohmann
The Maschhoffs Pork Production NJAS scholarship winner -Morgan Cox, Danika Miller, Lexi Marek, Jackson Johnson and Caleb Grohmann

Shake the mental funk

January seems to be a rough month for most people. The hopes of better things to come in a new year often fizzle out as the short, cold days frequently rob us from valuable sunshine to brighten the day. At the beginning of each year, inspirational words are habitually spoken but not absorbed. Words are just words if the mindset is to ramble ahead, doing things the same way with the same attitude day in and day out.

I openly admit the first work week in January was rough for me. The motivation truck was stuck in park. Perhaps, this was a product of holiday downtime, giving my mind permission to rest. After all, life is a mental sport and your personal journey is never smooth or straight. Still, even the roughest terrain needs to be conquered or it will leave us planted in a bottomless pothole.

Low prices from hogs to corn and staring at red ink can likewise leave any farmer in a mental funk that is hard to shake. Trying to figure out how to pay the bills can be a mental Olympics in itself. The craziness that we call life can easily leave us on a treadmill. Especially in agriculture, the daily battles to just accomplish the normal routine chores can be a small victory some days. Yet, it also can leave us complacent and unwilling to strive for more. However, the right attitude can make a really rough situation more tolerable.

Sometimes a spark of inspiration and motivation can come at the most unusual time. On a whim, I voyaged a few miles south to meet up with some young leaders of the pork community. Morgan Cox, Danika Miller, Lexi Marek, Jackson Johnson and Caleb Grohmann’s enthusiasm was contagious but it was their mental state of mind that took my breath away. As we discussed the business of pork and the world in general, I could not help to wonder what would happen if we all approach life with the same “fresh mind” as these young leaders did.

Take a page from these young leaders’ play book and develop a renewed outlook. It is always a good reminder to step back, examine business-as-usual and be open to try something new, building on the strong foundation of wins and losses from the past. As an industry what would the future hold if we all embrace change with a more open perspective? While experience can cause us to trek forward with more caution than the youngest generation, it is never too late to try something new.

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