Yvonne Hollenbeck: FOLLOWING INSTINCTS | TSLN.com


When I recently wrote an article about a South Dakota blizzard, I told about my husband’s harrowing experience being caught in blinding storm, alone on his pony, and because he remembered his dad’s advice, he gave his horse its head and the horse brought him home. An elderly neighbor, Leo Storms, once told me that his dad had also told him, “If you ever get lost, just give your horse his head and he will take you home.” Leo said he was working in a field with a team of horses, during the dirty thirties, when one of those awful dirt storms came up. Leo could see nothing and had no sense of direction, so heeding his dad’s advice, he unhooked the team, held the lines, and sure enough the team took him home.

Thinking about this little piece of advice, I wonder if it doesn’t also reflect on life itself. How many times have you also heard that one should always follow their instincts? And how many times have you not followed your first instinct and soon realized that you should have? I certainly have had that experience more than once.

Just today I learned about the current research into the problems of today’s job market, and of course there are many theories as to why there are so many unfilled positions across the board in every community. A well-substantiated explanation is that, because of so many being confined to their homes during the Covid Pandemic, many were working from home and it has proven quite successful, therefore, a lot of jobs are now being done in that manner. Also, many people have created at-home and on-line businesses which have successfully replaced their need to return to the work force. The study results were quite interesting. Quite a number of the people interviewed stated that, because of the pandemic, they were enjoying doing things they always wanted to try and do not miss the job or career they were previously engaged in.

There have also been many recent studies on what jobs are the happiest, and in nearly every study, the top result was clergy. Next came physical therapists; firefighters; education administrators; artists; and then teachers. In one study of over 25,000 workers, it was learned that a truly good job isn’t just one that pays the rent and doesn’t unduly raise your stress levels, although those are a good place to start, but the sense of fulfillment, the feeling at the end of the day that you’ve done work that actually matters, is what makes workers the happiest.

We all know many people that were trained and educated in one field only to end up working in a completely different area. Our favorite plumber has a law degree. After a short career in a large city law firm, he followed his instincts and returned to small-town Nebraska where he has a lucrative plumbing business, and is plumb happy (pun intended). My sister earned a B.S. in education with endorsements in biology and English, only to enter the tech field, working for Honeywell for thirty years. She did not care for teaching and loved working with computers, especially in their infancy.

The many people that we all know that are happiest in their work are successful because they followed their instincts, or in a way, gave their horse its head.


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