In movies or television, the iconic cowboy is often depicted sauntering casually on his horse wandering the range. We’re led to believe that the rough and tumble cowboys of the West were mostly unskilled vagabonds engaged in shootouts, card games, drinking, and chasing women. In reality, driving cattle from one area of the country to another along a ranching trail was far from glamorous. Traversing trails like the Chisholm Trail, these brave pioneers spent two months or more along a rugged landscape—encountering extreme weather, cattle stampedes, trail boss tolls, Indian attacks, and other conflicts along the way. To survive, the American Cowboy’s ethos demanded an immeasurable capacity for hard work. The harder he worked and the more adverse the circumstances, the greater amount of pride the cowboy took in completing a job well done.
The financial reward at the end of a cowboy’s arduous journey was the culmination of his labor, and the monetary gains provided a tangible success directly related to his efforts. But it was not just the bounty at the end of his expedition he took pride in. To survive and prosper required hard work along the way, and the cowboy not only took pride in performing the tasks associated with survival; rather, each task increased his pride in the final achievement of a profitable journey.
Just like the cowboy, our ultimate success—financial freedom— requires an arduous journey that is full of hard work. But achieving our ultimate goal is a result of a myriad of tasks and decisions we make along the way. As we work to achieve our financial goals, we should take pride in our own hard work. It is not easy to pay off debt, save for a home, put a child through college; even living on a budget can be a daily challenge. Just as the cowboy faced danger and deprivation, we will face circumstance outside of our control, and as we navigate them we should take pride in overcoming these challenges. Each adversity or challenge we overcome puts us a step closer to achieving our goal of financial freedom.