Fence Tape and Cow Brains

 

There’s an interesting practice in the cattle industry on the North Island of New Zealand that allows for easy movement of cows from one field to another.

Rather than building costly and unwieldy fences, ranchers will leave one section of the fence unbuilt and instead have a line of tape extending across the gap at the cows’ eye level.

The cows, not understanding that this tape would be easily broken by the pressure of their applied momentum, choose never to even test the barrier, figuring in their cow-brains that this limitation is just as solid and indefatigable as all the rest of the fence, which they’d given up trying to break years before.

Where’s the tape in your life?

What’s the worst that can happen if you start testing barriers that you feel are insurmountable, but might not be?

17 comments

  1. That’s what I’m working on right now Colin. For a lot of things in life, I’ve just told myself “i can’t” because I didn’t think I could do it and i didn’t want to try and fail.

    Now I’m seeing just what is impossible & what is just in my head :)

  2. What a great analogy and compelling title! I couldn’t not read what the post was about. (It was worth it.) Thanks for the insight.

    Best,
    Haidn

  3. I struggled with these imaginary barriers for years. For me, the barrier was thinking that if I just worked harder at something I would “break through”. Now I just work smarter and spend the rest of my time working to catch up on the life I ignored for so long.

  4. Thanks for the perspective! Hmmm… So much tape right now… and I really needed a kick in the pants.

    Oh yeah, great headline!

  5. Wow, awesome example of self-imposed limitations! Often the tape in our lives is not only preventing us from breaking boundries, but we’re the one’s maintaining that tape, afriad to step across the border into the unknown.

  6. That’s what I’m working on right now Colin. For a lot of things in life, I’ve just told myself “i can’t” because I didn’t think I could do it and i didn’t want to try and fail.

    Now I’m seeing just what is impossible & what is just in my head :)

  7. What a great analogy and compelling title! I couldn’t not read what the post was about. (It was worth it.) Thanks for the insight.

    Best,
    Haidn

  8. P.S. Are those the now-dead “sassy shoes” in your sidebar photo, or their replacements?

    Haidn

  9. Thank you for this post. Just what I needed to give me courage today. :-)

  10. I struggled with these imaginary barriers for years. For me, the barrier was thinking that if I just worked harder at something I would “break through”. Now I just work smarter and spend the rest of my time working to catch up on the life I ignored for so long.

  11. Thanks for the perspective! Hmmm… So much tape right now… and I really needed a kick in the pants.

    Oh yeah, great headline!

  12. Wow, awesome example of self-imposed limitations! Often the tape in our lives is not only preventing us from breaking boundries, but we’re the one’s maintaining that tape, afriad to step across the border into the unknown.

  13. This reminds me a lot of the story of fleas in a jar. Apparently (I've never witnessed this so it's totally hear-say) when you put fleas in a jar with a lid they'll jump and jump and keep smacking their heads off the lid so eventually they condition themselves to not jump so high (hence no more head smacking.) The training comes because they will take the lids off the jars so the fleas could escape if they wanted to, but they never get out cause they don't just that high any longer.

  14. Pingback: 25 Virtues for the Minimalist World-Changer | The Art of Minimalism

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