Why Are Animals Tougher Than Us?

Time to enter “suck it up” mode.

In the midst of a blizzard, Nick and I hauled bales of dried-up plant matter to feed the cows. The same thing, I might add, that they’ve been munching on for the past 114 days, (variety doesn’t seem to be in their vocabulary).

As they happily ate, I remembered my recent complaints about the frequency of an egg breakfast… although, this post isn’t about the simplicity of repetitive meals (even though I should get used to that, too); it led me to think about the fortitude of animals and what I could learn from them.

Cows eating hay in the middle of a blizzard.
A little snow never hurt…

How can it be that these cows have stood outside (or in an open front shed) for the entire winter? They may have spent November adding a layer of fur, but here we are in March and I’m still bundling up just to walk to my car…

When did human beings get so wimpy?

Perhaps we need to take it all the way back to the Garden of Eden… when Eve ate the apple and realized she was naked, forever separating us from animals. Or maybe it only goes back to when I was 5 and it was “too hot” to play outside, setting my wimpiness bar for life. Nevertheless, this all led to a 28-year-old sipping coffee by the fire, wasting time waiting on the weather to change. 

However, if the dog can joyfully fetch her toy from the ice water, I should be able to get through the evening with the thermostat at 60. Which begs the question: how do we train ourselves to “suck it up?” 

Luna runs through snow and ice in order to fetch her toy.
Ice doesn’t matter if there’s a toy involved.

Perhaps the key is to figure out the motivator.

What is the carrot (or ball) that drives one to toughness? Perhaps it’s the propane NOT used, or the money NOT spent.

Or maybe the drive is intrinsic? Like our cat, Susan, who’s had countless litters of healthy, happy kittens cuddled between stacks of hay; sometimes even in the winter. It’s not that she’s aware that she’s tough, it’s that at this moment, this is her life and she LOVES it. 

So how do we fully conscious beings mimic the toughness of animals?

It starts with one step in the direction of discomfort, AKA get comfortable being uncomfortable. In this time of plenty, it’s growing easier for complacency to run rampant. And in real terms, a “suck it up” attitude is what leads to the adventure we desire.

Susan happily feed her kittens on a bale of hay.
Bring me all the kittens!

It’s time to transition out of idle and kick it into drive. Take inspiration from the toughness of animals and get after it. Say things like it will never be as hard as “that one time” or that “it will feel so good when it’s done.” 

Because in the end, it’s really all about perspective.

Subscribe poster

This post was written by Annie Schmitz, March 2021.

Annie sitting in the back of an aluminum canoe. Luna swims in the water nearby.

Leave a Reply