I recently had a conversation with a 65-year-old farmer and he explained to me that he had 800 acres, but he was lucky to have kept the farm together because his parents had a terrible plan and he had to fight for everything. Then their attorney screwed things up. Then the financial guy screwed up the insurance and some of it lapsed. Now he can’t find an attorney or accountant and he’s been to a bunch of workshops and everybody just wants to sell him stuff. His wife doesn’t agree with how he wants to do things and his kids are frustrated that they don’t have a plan in place. Now he’s even more frustrated because no one seems to know what’s going on with the new administration and what laws are going to change. Wow, the poor guy has had all kinds of issues, but the good news is that there was always someone else to blame.

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I was reminded of what things are like at sporting events. Usually, you are cheering for one of the teams to win. For a good life lesson sometime go to a sporting event where you absolutely do not care who wins the game and sit in the middle of the crowd. If you are not sitting on the losing side in the first half, then at halftime, move to sit on the side of the losing team. Now start listening to the fans and you will get a new perspective on people and life. A losing team will always have all the excuses. Of course, it starts with how terrible the refs are. Then you will hear what a jerk the other coach is. Then someone will point out how obnoxious their student section is and the parents are arrogant, too. Finally, it’s concluded that the whole town is bad, even the cheerleaders. Of course, when you don’t care who wins, you will think it is both sad and comical to hear what people are saying.

So let’s get back to the case … so here this guy is, surrounded by apparent struggles he had to deal with because his parents didn’t do things right but now he’s in charge of his own estate and is still blaming others for his current problems. I certainly recognize all of his points could possibly be problems, but the question is, how do people deal with adversity? Do they look for someone to blame or try to surround themselves with people who help them rise up? I’ll never forget hearing a winning college football coach take some heat after winning yet another game by “too much.” I loved his response when he said, “It is not my fault you are that bad. If you don’t like it, get better!”

So how do you get better?

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  • Be the kind of person other people want to be around.
  • Define your goals so other people know what you’re trying to accomplish.
  • Find advisers with personalities that match up to yours.
  • Be loyal but not blind.
  • Look in the mirror. Is it possible that you are the problem?

Every year there will be different challenges in agriculture. OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE. What did you see? For many people, they see OPPORTUNITY IS NO WHERE. This is what many people will see first as they struggle to find opportunity. On the other hand, some people will see OPPORTUNITY IS NOW HERE. I believe there will be opportunities ahead of us if you can just rearrange a few letters. Now it's time to approach things positively by communicating your ideas and surrounding yourself with positive, qualified people. Maybe it’s time to quit blaming other people and take responsibility for your actions.

Myron Friesen is the co-owner of Farm Financial Strategies Inc. in Osage, Iowa. He can be contacted at 866-524-3636 or friesen@farmestate.com.