Never call someone a buffalo.

The other day I called someone a buffalo.  I meant it as a compliment, however the colleague I was talking to didn’t take it that way.  Needless to say, I had some explaining to do.

It went something like this –

There are only a few places where cows and buffalo roam in close proximity.  And these wide open spaces are subject to the fierce weather. How cows and buffalo behave when a storm approaches is quite interesting.

When a storm approaches, cows instinctively run away—in the opposite direction.  This effort is, of course, in vain because cows don’t move very quickly. As a result, they prolong the agony until the storm eventually overtakes them.

Buffalo, in contrast, run toward the storm.  As a result, they run into and past the storm quickly.  Their agony exists, but for a much shorter period of time.

Recovery effective.

Although it wasn’t initially perceived as such, my comment about being a buffalo was intended as positive reinforcement.  I was happy to see my colleague bravely tackle a situation others had avoided. Like cows in a storm, those likely well-intentioned people just made the agony last longer.  

Important clarification – I don’t advise calling people cows–think of another term. 

But if someone ever calls you a buffalo, consider it a compliment.  And the next time you’re faced with something unpleasant, charge at it and deal with it rather than allowing it to stick around haunting you. While it may take a bit of energy to deal with, it is likely to be resolved more quickly and allow you to focus on less stressful things in your life or work.

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