I’ve been asked to do a lot of weird things in my life…
I’m from a small town in Indiana that sits among endless cornfields and endures winter for about six months every year. To say that we had to be creative in order to entertain ourselves would be an understatement. (I used to jump into frozen lakes — for fun.) I’m familiar with weird. I love weird. I thrive on weird.
But like I said, I’m a simple guy from a small town so I still get surprised pretty easily. Right now, I’m in the middle of starting a company called Generous with two great friends. A few weeks ago, we got together in Austin, Texas to continue building a business that we hope will change the world some day. We focus on lofty goals!
Even though I went to Texas to start a business and change the world, the next thing you know I’m dressed up as a horse with one of my best friends, Riley (the coauthor of this article), in front of about 75 adults and two kids. By anyone’s standard, this was just… bizarre. The pictures show how strange it was.
But you know who didn’t think it was strange? My friend’s son who turned three that day. It’s hard enough to get real people to commit to things these days, so I imagine getting animated horses to come to your birthday party must’ve been an uphill battle. About a week before the birthday, my buddy called me and said, “Hey! I’ve got a favor to ask you. You’ve been on TV before… Think you could play an animated horse for my three–year-old and his friend?” And that’s how I became a cartoon for a day, wearing a ridiculous (and awesome) horse suit under the 100-degree Texas summer sun.
So, what does all of this have to do with anything? The experience made me realize, again, that life isn’t about me.
I remembered that my purpose in life is to invest the very best things I’ve been given — time, skills, money, horse costumes — into bringing out the very best in others.
I also realized that to be successful, I need to be focused, intentional, and know my audience. There were only two kids at the entire party — less than 5% of the people there cared I was a cartoon horse! And everybody else thought I looked like an idiot. But I was intentional and focused on being the best animated horse I could be, and I knew my audience, those two little boys, were THRILLED!
They still talk about Spirit and Chica Linda coming to the birthday party. And I’m grateful for the reminder that serving others is always the right thing, even when it makes me uncomfortable. To be honest, I usually receive more happiness than I gave in the first place.
So the question is… Who’s asking you to wear a horse costume today? And do you have the energy to make their dream come true? Because if you do, they might just make someone else’s dream come true… and that’s the kind of world I want to live in.
By Ben Higgins with Riley Fuller
What does your horse costume look like? When was the last time you went out of your way to better someone’s life?