Early in the morning when I step on a cold backed horse I think of the old adage that the two most basic ingredients of a cowboy are a horse and courage.
Some days I think, “I have the horse but just where is my courage this morning?”
We walk along for a while until my horse's ears start pointing more forward and less back. When we start up a slight incline my courage makes an appearance and I ask for a trot. My equine partner and I get limbered up as we travel forward and soon our courage and confidence grow until we are ready for the day's work.
That’s how it works, of course. My courage gives him confidence, and conversely if I fear, he is uncertain and anxious. It is the same between you and I. Your courage feeds my courage, your fear feeds my fear.
If I am fearful, I am only comfortable with people who think like I do.
A courageous person appreciates engaging in conversation or debate with other respectful thinkers regardless of their worldview.
If I am a fearful leader, I justify my ineffectiveness by claiming that there just aren't enough other people who share my point of view.
A courageous leader is effective because they can communicate their point of view in a respectful, inoffensive manner to others. One cannot persuade the offended.
Politics is an arena where fear is painfully evident. It is natural to fear, but it is not healthy or wise to feed our fears. Today's political culture is rife with fear. This culture discourages the brightest and the best from participating.
Those of you who have been to any recent meetings know exactly what I’m talking about. It only takes a few fearful souls who have been feeding their fears on the internet or in a solitary cabin to derail the meeting into a morass.
As the level of fear and volume escalates and the minutes begin to drag past, the effective members of the meeting begin looking for the next stop so they can get off of the ride to nowhere.
Feeding our fears puts us on a road we do not want to be on.
Consider the dysfunction in our nation's capital. Consider recent world events. Consider history.
We are free to choose the fearful path, but we do not get to choose where it leads.
We can do better than this Wyoming. The cowboy state deserves better.