Consider this...

By Mike Johnson


I'd never owned a horse before.

So I had no idea how to contain one in a fenced-in area.

"Country Boy" was only a Shetland pony but he must have weighed a good 700 pounds. This was about 500 pounds more than the wire fence I'd erected could tolerate. The horse soon learned that by leaning on my handiwork, he could pop loose a few wires and gain his freedom. After chasing him around the neighborhood several times, I decided some additional technology was needed.

So I installed an electric fence.

As luck would have it, 30 seconds after plugging it in, Country Boy decided to check out the new wire - and licked it.

WHOOOAA! He was only in the air for a moment, but it was enough to keep that horse away from those wires for the rest of his life.

The interesting thing is, our kids would often turn off the fence to feed him and then forget to flip it back on. During any of those nights, the pony could've easily escaped by using his old leaning trick. But his painful memory prevented him from even considering it.

Sound familiar?

Even though we desperately want out of a current situation, we can't seem to forget those nasty shocks of the past. Afraid of getting burned again, we grow used to operating far within the parameters of our potential, tolerating bad situations rather than pushing the barriers that appear to keep us captive. Given enough time and bad experience, our wide-open pastures of possibility are whittled down to tiny corrals of limited beliefs.

Think about it - all that we know and all that we are, is based on past experience.

Getting laughed at while reading our story in the fourth grade, turns into a limited belief that we're not a good writer.

Because a dog bites us once, we fear all dogs for the rest of our lives, missing all the positive experiences that go along with dog ownership.

A lover dumped us once, so we enter the next relationship with a wary eye - a condition that encourages the same scenario to repeat itself.

What if we learned that all those old hurts were nothing more than electric fences that were no longer "plugged in?"

Past experience is no indicator of future results unless we let it be. Why drive our lives by staring at the rearview mirror? Past experience is just that - the past. By its very nature it can't change - it's imprinted in the sands of time. But we are changing every moment. The person we are today is a much smarter person than the one who got burned in the past. Trust yourself. Lean into that fence. And gallop off when you discover the only power it ever had to hold you in was the belief you'd given it to do so.

Given a few "escapes," your entire outlook begins to turn. Instead of asking yourself what you have to do, you begin telling yourself what you want to do.

Isn't it strange that the only force keeping so many lashed to unhappy lives is a bunch of mental fences that are no longer plugged in? Can it really be that simple? Practical horse sense usually is.


Mike Johnson is an energetic writer & entrepreneur. Learn more about Mike's offerings at