Shola Richardson’s father was from Sierra Leone, West Africa. I once heard Shola tell a story about the day his father pulled him aside and said, “Son, I need you to be the buffalo, not the cow.”
Shola looked at him with a blank expression, clearly confused.
“Son,” he repeated, “be the buffalo, not the cow.”
Shola said, “Dad, I’m going to need you to explain this to me.”
“When a storm is coming,” his father explained, “the cow gets frightened and runs away from the storm. By doing so, the cow not only gets wet anyway but actually prolongs the time spent in the storm.” He paused. “But, the buffalo, even though it is just as scared, runs directly into the storm. Yes, this means the storm comes more quickly, but it also means that the time in the storm is much shorter.”
We spend so much time in life trying to avoid discomfort. When we see it coming, the temptation is to run in the opposite direction. However, by trying to avoid pain, we often prolong it, having the opposite effect of the one we intended.
When we refuse to run from discomfort and instead lean into it, we often find that it’s not nearly as bad as we’d feared. Better yet, discomfort leads to growth in ways we couldn’t have achieved otherwise.
So choose to be the buffalo, not the cow.
Don’t run away from discomfort. Lean into it.
Is there any place where you are running away from discomfort rather than leaning into it?