The majority of national sales trainers, motivational speakers, and human development consultants tend to agree on one major idea: “We become what we think about!” Before you can win in life, you must first win in your own mind. In essence, a change in your attitude must take place. A change of mind can turn a boring task into an exciting adventure. This concept brings back to memory a childhood experience I had as a young boy on the farm in northern Utah.
As a boy, I had the daily chore of taking food out to the hogs each morning. This activity was referred to as “slopping the hogs.” As I would take the two silver buckets, filled to the brim with the family leftovers, to the hogs, our family’s large and lazy creatures would wander slowly over to the trough and quickly consume all that was placed in front of them. The hogs would never look up at me as I lowered the contents of the bucket down toward them, and no appreciation was ever displayed on their fat, pointed faces as I provided them with daily nourishment. I developed a strong dislike for this chore, as I had to encounter the smell and dirty surroundings each day. This dislike turned into a depression. I hated the job, the surroundings, and the unappreciative ugly creatures. This negative attitude had a large impact on my self-esteem and confidence. I indeed felt a “living death”.
This negative attitude and the feeling of low self-worth was reinforced every day, as the hogs never seemed excited when I approached them with their daily meal. My attitude toward this duty quickly changed upon the arrival of nine baby “piglets” one summer morning. One day, as always, I proceeded to pick up the two silver buckets in my hands. As the morning sunlight reflected off the buckets, the baby piglets quickly gained focus of the reflection that meant nourishment was soon arriving. Moving slowly towards the pen, I noticed something I had never seen before in my “slopping the hogs” experience. I identified a self-generated enthusiasm, a natural hunger that created excitement on the Rodney Dangerfield look-a-like faces of the piglets. As I walked closer to the pen, the baby piglets began to run, while stumbling over and falling on top of each other, toward me. As I moved closer toward the fence, the piglets proceeded to leap towards me and ended up leaning on the first rail of the wooden fence. As the two buckets were lowered, I wasn’t allowed to drop the contents into the trough. The nine baby piglets leaped head-first into the trough; and while lying on their backs, proceeded to consume all the contents that would fall from above.
From that time on, each day started out with excitement and enthusiasm as I took out the morning leftovers to the baby piglets, because I knew they would anticipate with passion my daily delivery. At that time, I stopped using the phrase “slop the hogs” and started saying “feed the pigs” because this chore, which was earlier referred to as a burden, now became a pleasure. This attitude change improved my self-esteem, increased my self-confidence, and allowed me to once again take on new challenges and not be fearful of failure.