Ben Higgins – The Mahogany Workplace – Chica Linda and Spirit 1

How Animated Horses Taught Me About Life’s Purpose

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.

Ben Higgins – The Mahogany Workplace – Chica Linda and Spirit 2

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 threeyear-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!

Ben Higgins – The Mahogany Workplace – Chica Linda and Spirit 3

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?

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  • Reply
    Krysten Isenhower
    July 19, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    Today my horse costume came in the form of sweat, tacos, and greys anatomy. I’ve got two marathons on my calendar and my roommate is trying to get in shape, so off to our apartments gym we went this evening. I forgot to set out chicken for dinner, so what does one do when chicken is no longer an option?? Go to Ted’s down the road and pick up chips and salsa, brown some ground turnkey, and have taco Tuesday on a Wednesday. Horse costumes for the win. All the while becoming a better person becaus you took that leap of faith and made a fool of yourself.

  • Reply
    July 19, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    I’m an elementary teacher, so knowing my audience is a must! There are some students stories that break my heart. If they didn’t learn one thing that I taught them that day, but felt comfortable enough to give me a hug after class, or hold my hand while we were walking to the buses, I’ve done my job. To make them feel safe and loved, when they might not receive it in their home life.

    • Reply
      Ben Higgins
      August 1, 2017 at 4:23 pm

      Cheers to you for dedicating your life to teaching! It’s a tough but rewarding job.

  • Reply
    July 20, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    Great story! Exactly what I needed to hear today 🙂

  • Reply
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    July 21, 2017 at 4:41 pm

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  • Reply
    July 22, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    My horse costume looks like a mom of two boys! I had to wear my costume last night as my older son (3) was going to sleep. He has had nightmares as of late and I wore the horse costume my dad once wore for me. What I mean by that is when I had several nightmares and became afraid of the dark shadows in my room, my dad told me that police drive our streets every night and we live in a safe neighborhood where they protect us. From then on, I was not scared anymore. I did that for my boy and he was so thrilled to know the “wee ohh wee ohh police cars” get the bad guys and the bad bugs and take them “downtown!”. 😉

    • Reply
      Ben Higgins
      August 1, 2017 at 4:24 pm

      Parenting comes with its own set of horse costumes. Thank you for the story and for loving on your boys.

  • Reply
    August 15, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    Today my horse costume is this post if that makes any sense. Your words have called me out. I’ve been way too wrapped up in my own little world lately, stressing over my own “problems” too much to put my focus on others. So thank you for reminding me of the importance of serving others!

  • Reply
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