My View From The Country

The Right Book At The Right Time

"The Circle Maker" by Mark Batterson promises to inspire you to dream big, think long and pray hard.

A person I respect a great deal sent me a book last week he said had greatly impacted him. The book by Mark Batterson is entitled “The Circle Maker,” with the subtitle of “Praying circles around your biggest dreams and greatest fears.”

It’s a book I probably would never have heard of, or read, if it hadn’t been so highly recommended. Yet, when I was only 20 pages into the book, I knew it was the right book for me at the right time, and that it would profoundly impact my life.

It’s one of those books that inspire you to incorporate the principles in it into your everyday life. It’s about the power and importance of prayer, and the following three concepts are repeated many times throughout the book:

  • Dream big.
  • Pray hard.
  • Think long. 

The emphasis of the book is obviously on praying hard, and is the concept that I’m committed to incorporating into my life in a big way. Given my litany of failings, I always feel out of place talking about claiming God’s promises, pursuing God-sized dreams, or seizing God-ordained opportunities, as the author does. At the same time, I also get nervous about summarizing and secularizing concepts that are far more powerful as written. So if the next few paragraphs attempting to do that intrigue you at all, I urge you to read the book.

Like so many others, this book is a testament to goals. It makes the point that most of us don’t get what we want in life because we’ve never taken the time to figure out what it is that we want.

Take our own operations, for instance. Most everyone devotes many long hours of hard work to make their cattle operation a success, but how many of us have ever truly sat down and written out our goals for the operation; something that outlines the vision for where we want to go?

I believe most people have some broad general goals in mind for their business or ranch. But if they aren’t defined, specific and inspiring, they aren’t particularly real. I say this with confidence because I know that in our own operation, much of what we’ve done and are doing is outside that bigger context and vision.

We have to dream big. I love the quote from noted architect Daniel Burnham, who said, “Make no small plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood.” Dreaming big is a prerequisite to achieving something meaningful. It means having a vision, a plan to achieve it and the persistence to see it through.

Another point made in the book is that you have to think long. The author points out that we often overestimate what we can accomplish in a year or two, but tend to underestimate what we can accomplish in 10 years. That’s amazing and I see that concept played out daily with my own time management. I almost always can write down far more than I can accomplish in a given day or week, but at the end of the month I’m surprised by all that’s been accomplished as a result of the hundreds of little things that inevitably took longer than I thought.

If all of us as managers had a big dream, audacious goals and a long-term perspective to help us get there, the results would be amazing.

The following sentence also captured me – “At some point, most of us stop living out of imagination and start living out of memory. Instead of creating the future, we start repeating the past. Instead of living by faith, we live by logic.” In other words, we stop going after our dreams, and we stop living with the commitment and excitement that makes life meaningful.

Businesses are like men in that if the dreams are getting bigger, they are growing; when the dreams decrease, so do they. Inevitably big dreams require acts of faith as well; it means a willingness to take big risks. I need to be reminded from time to time that the greatest risk of all is failing to dream big, and to act in faith.  “Success is a derivative of persistence.”

Finally the book discussed the fact that we are where we are, wherever that may be, because of a host of daily decisions and a few defining decisions. Dreaming big, thinking long term, being persistent, working hard and making those defining decisions describe where we are, and can change where we are going almost instantly. Dream big. Pray hard. Think long.

Discuss this Blog Entry 5

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 23, 2012

I agree this is a good book, but I do not agree with putting this on a beef/ag site. Why do you need to push a religious agenda and usually a political one? Do you think that other Christians need to be told philosophies of life as regards to their cattle operation? I can think for myself, and really, this is just weird of you.

It's kind of like someone who talks about sex all the time....they are the ones usually not getting any. If you have to wear your religion on your sleeve, maybe you really don't have a grasp of it in your life.

Bob Weaber (not verified)
on Oct 29, 2012

It is called editorial content. It is designed as an expression of the views and beliefs of the writer and as such presents interesting and often alternate views on the world, not surprisingly, that includes religion and politics...good work Troy!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 23, 2012

Thank you Troy for writing about this kind of thing. The connection you make between faith and accomplishing big goals shows me that you DO have a grasp of it in your life.

GLB (not verified)
on Oct 23, 2012

This is a great book! Thanks for being Salt and Light just as Jesus called us to be! I am a Christian and I appreciate your boldness and willingness to include the Faith so many of us find as a key part of our life. Without Jesus Christ we are nothing!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 28, 2012

Thank you for a great article, its something I forget a lot (dream big, have faith in God, and go for it). Thank you once again

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What's My View From The Country?

As a fulltime rancher, opinion contributor Troy Marshall brings a unique perspective on how consumer and political trends affect livestock production.


Troy Marshall

Troy Marshall is a multi-generational rancher who grew up in Wheatland, WY, and obtained an Equine Science/Animal Science degree from Colorado State University where he competed on both the livestock...

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