Mind Over Chatter

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This post was inspired by a remembrance from someone who found me on Facebook and was ecstatic to learn that I had written a book about goats, or so she thought. Her name is Betsy, and she is a former classmate of mine. As a small child, she was terribly allergic to dogs and cats. She tried, she really did, but no dog and no cat of any breed could keep her from sneezing and breaking out in a rash. Luckily, she and her family lived on a small farm, and her father – a wise man indeed – loved Betsy so much he decided to explore goats as a pet option. It did not take the family very long to realize that Betsy was a natural born goat handler. She was passionate about her goats.


You Are What You Eat

The baby goats (kids) immediately took to her, and she to them. In fact (please believe me), she put leashes on them and took them for walks around the farm and up onto the dirt road that ran by their house. Betsy told us that the goats had incredible appetites, and they could go through a large bottle of milk at least three times a day. In fact, there was just about nothing they would not attempt to eat, from book reports (yes, that excuse really does work with goats!) to vegetable gardens as well, but that’s another matter! Surprisingly, they did not care for grass all that much, but they went after weeds with gusto. They were like a human weed eater!

Betsy loved her goats, and she said they even knew their names. For me, when we reconnected it was all about gaining firsthand knowledge about an animal that I used as a metaphor for my book Hide Your Goat. When I asked her if they were affectionate, she had something very interesting to say:

“They were affectionate when I fed them.” (Sounds like my cat Kramer).

Outside of that, the goats supplied milk for many years, and the family even made goat milk cheese. The goats “just” became good old farm animals and, over time, they didn’t have much to do with Betsy, except of course when they were hungry and tired of eating weeds and schoolwork.


Stop Listening to Negative Voices

Not to sound egotistical, but the book Hide Your Goat has done quite well because the metaphorical message using goats is so easy for all of us to relate to in our daily lives. My books are based on true life personal experiences along with my heartfelt need to reach out and help as many people as I can.

Why the title? It stems from the expression “That really gets my goat!” As I explained in the book, the expression may have many different origins, but in the context in which I use the phrase, comes to symbolize the negativity and negative people who enter our lives.

We can sometimes get so used to negative people and the conflicting emotions they insert into our lives that we come to believe it is the normal way for us to feel. Whenever we try to start something new, change a harmful behavior, launch a new business idea or career, begin a new degree, take a new class or do most anything good or exciting, there is that person telling us we can’t do it. After a while, the naysayers don’t even need to be in the room with us – we just “hear” their negative voices.

How many times in your earlier life did you listen to someone’s negative mindset and give up on something pleasing or happy because you convinced yourself that his or her opinions actually matter? It should be your positive mindset over their negative chatter.

How habitually do you find yourself giving life to the negativity others “impose” on you? How much power do you turn over to negative people?

How often does someone feed us pessimism by expressing why we can’t do something, or point out what is broken, and then we find ourselves agreeing just to make them feel right? My gentle reminder is that we must strive to make ourselves happy. If we have a positive attitude, it positively affects everyone around us. If negativity exists in our lives, we must try very diligently not to feed it. You may not be able to control someone’s negative behavior, but you can control how long you participate in it. Feed your mind with information and ideas that are uplifting and that make you feel happy and more confident about yourself and your world.

The more positive “we” become, the more “they” will go away and drift toward people who share similar attitudes. Betsy reminded me that, just like negative people, goats desire to be with one another, too. There is no point in keeping negative people and negativity around us. While I am not suggesting we completely turn our backs on those who always try to knock us down, we can greatly diminish their influence in our lives. Every day you must unlearn the ways that hold you back and the people who inhibit you from being positive. People who live in the weeds and eat the weeds will try to convince you to do the same. Negative people need drama like oxygen. If you stay upbeat, it will take their breath away. You have a right to be happy. Live a positive life!


For more information about Hall of Fame speaker and bestselling author Steve Gilliland, please contact: steve@stevegilliland.com / 724-540-5019, or visit his website at www.stevegilliland.com.