Soil Health Comes First, Then Grass & Livestock

Burke Teichert | Jun 27, 2014

In recent columns, I’ve touched on the following topics:

• Empowered people, because everything in our businesses happens because of and through people – usually those closest to the business, land and livestock.

• Sustainability, because it’s such a buzz word and people outside of our business will have an impact, whether we like it or not. Also, ranchers don’t know all we should about the environment, particularly the ecosystem – its complexity and interconnectedness, and how it reacts to our management actions.

• Planning strategically first, and then developing tactics and operational schedules and methods to accomplish the strategic objectives. Too often, we do it backwards – starting with operations, then tactics, letting strategy be determined by default – with tactics defining our strategy.

If my writings do nothing more than confirm your current thinking, I’ll have failed. My aim is to, respectfully yet somewhat vigorously, challenge your current view of a cattle ranching business and lead you to some new thoughts, approaches and methods.

I’m reminded of my first meeting with the late Bud Williams – the best, in my opinion, of many gurus of stockmanship. After about 10 minutes of my questioning him, Bud stopped me and said that we needed to change the rules of the conversation.

He then pointed out that I was looking for things I did similarly to how he did them. He told me that I would likely find some and, when I did, “you will think you’re as good as I am, and you’re not.” He then said that for the rest of our conversation, I should only look for things (ways of handling livestock) that he did differently and ask why.

That very short exchange changed the way I have tried to learn from others ever since. Now, when I occupy the role of learner, these are my questions:

  •  What are you doing?
  •  Am I seeing it correctly?
  •  Why do you do that?
  •  Why do you do it that way?

A change in management approach

With that background I want to suggest another change in our approach to management. After working with a number of clients, talking to ranchers following some of my speaking engagements, and thinking about my own past approach, I’m convinced that most ranchers give their cattle the highest priority, followed by grass; little thought is given to soil.

I suggest that is backwards. We should think soil first, as all life springs from the soil. Our livestock can be a powerful tool to improve or damage the soil, and too many of us don’t think about which we are doing.  We just graze cattle. Of course, we like to think we’re not “overgrazing;” but do we really know what “overgrazing” is?

We usually do our grazing for the benefit of the cattle, and maybe the grass, with little attention to the effect on the soil. Do you know how to use livestock to improve soil organic matter, increase water infiltration rates, improve soil moisture holding capability, and improve nutrient cycling?  This can be done, and then grass productivity improves.

In addition to seeing our livestock for their endpoint value, we need to see them as a powerful tool for soil improvement and then grass improvement. (In this context, when I talk of grass, I am including anything that livestock and wildlife will eat – grass, forbs and shrubs.) When a short period of grazing is followed by an opportunity for the grazed plant(s) to fully recover before being grazed again, and when the animals help to lay litter on the soil surface trampling some into the soil, and when animals spread their dung and urine on the very areas they graze, soils begin to improve.

As soils improve there will be an increase in biodiversity above and below the soil surface. There should be a greater variety of plants with different depths of rooting. Some will grow early and some will grow late, while others will grow when it’s hot. There also will be an increasing variety of soil micro-organisms and animal life. This complex web of interdependency, if properly managed, will continue to improve the soil and its ability to feed your livestock.

While I want herbicides and pesticides in my tool box, I want to use them as sparingly as possible, as no poison kills only the target organism. Sometimes the net effect is good, but we often fail to see the unintended consequences because they aren’t quite so obvious to the impatient, untrained eye.

I often wonder, when using pesticides and herbicides, what have we killed that is important to soil building and nutrient cycling or to a balance in predator-prey relationships. My preference is to manage as much as possible “for what you do want” instead of “against what you don’t want.” And I want healthy soils with much biodiversity above and below the soil surface.

Cattle endpoint value

While we should manage cattle for their endpoint value, we must put it in appropriate context. If soil building and soil protection isn’t one of the first considerations in developing our strategic plan for the ranch, it will probably be ignored.

Cattle operations must be flexible to accommodate good grass and pasture management. This often means that the same event (calving, breeding, branding, weaning, etc.) won’t happen in the same place each year, but the end results for cattle can still be good. In addition, the people involved must learn to be flexible and understand that nature likes a little chaos. Livestock management must fit the grass management, and the grass management must fit the objectives for soil health and soil improvement.

We must always remember that our livestock are a powerful tool for management of the soil. They can be used for improvement or regression.  By thinking “soil” first, we can still allow for excellence in cattle management. So, let’s change the paradigm from livestock-grass-soil to soil-grass-livestock.

Producers struggle to regulate cow size

Teresa Clark
for The Fence Post

Determining what size of cow is ideal for the environment is a hot topic. It depends on the environment, the ranch, and sometimes the rancher. What is even harder is settling on a certain size of cow, and maintaining it.

University of Wyoming Extension Rangeland Specialist Derek Scasta shared a story about his grandfather’s struggles to maintain cow size in his own herd. “What we have is a lot of information to go through,” Scasta told producers during the recent Southeast Wyoming Beef Production convention. “When my grandfather would go to a bull sale, he was looking for EPDs for low birth weight and higher weaning weight, but he may have ignored the maternal traits, and then kept the higher end of the heifer calves for replacements,” he said. The result over time was larger cows.

Looking at the bull’s maternal EPDs will indicate how the heifer calves will look, Scasta said. The bull may have had a positive EPD for milk and mature size, producing larger daughters. “That is why you really need to sort through the bull catalog and look at those EPDs,” he said.


In 1975, the average beef cow in the U.S. weighed 1,000 pounds, which became the range management standard for calculating animal unit months. However, recent data suggests the average beef cow now weighs 1,400 pounds. “In 2010, 16 percent of the U.S. beef cows were more than 1,500 pounds,” Scasta said. “That’s millions of beef cows that weigh more than 1,500 pounds on range and pasture in the U.S.”

Despite a more than 400 pound increase in cow size in the last 40 years, Scasta said no evidence exists to suggest that increase has resulted in weaning larger calves. “We have enhanced the production and performance potential of cows, but we may not be realizing that in terms of calf weaning weight,” he said.


The EPD for yearling weight has increased 100 pounds in the Angus breed, which basically shows ranchers have been selecting for growth in cattle. In 1985, the average carcass weight was 725 pounds, and in 2015, it was 892 pounds, which is 165 pounds larger. “Cattle are basically 20 percent heavier than 35 years ago, and 10 percent heavier than 15 years ago,” he said.

With that amount of growth has come some negatives in relation to animal welfare. Cattle pots were originally designed to haul smaller cattle. “With these bigger cattle, a lot of them will bump their back going into that lower deck, which leaves a bruise on their back leading to a cut out. It is costing the industry $35 million a year because the cattle are bigger today than what the trailers were originally designed for,” Scasta said.


It is not just a matter of muscle growth. Ranchers have also selected for milk production. “As we have enhanced the performance of our cattle, what has been happening to rangeland? Actually, rangeland has stayed pretty flat despite the production potential of cattle increasing. We have managed to optimize what we get from the range, and it has stayed pretty consistent over time,” he said. “Ranchers have done a good job of matching their cattle genetics with range productivity.”

Scasta said there is a lot of disagreement over optimum cow size. Some studies suggest smaller cows are better because of live weight production and income, while others find larger cows to be more efficient because they have a larger rumen which could be an advantage for the efficiency of processing low quality forages.

A lot of the data available comes from feeding trials, where they did a lot of modeling, Scasta said. “What I found was a lot of mixed studies, and a lack of information in Wyoming,” he said.

Do larger cows wean larger calves?

One study he shared that was published in the Journal of Animal Science, studied how cow size impacts calf weaning weights relative to precipitation extremes. The four-year study involved 80 cows grazing rangeland northwest of Laramie.

The study showed that during the driest years, the larger cows had an advantage, and the smaller cows weaned lighter calves. However, the results were opposite during wet years, and variable during average years. “Taking the average of all four years into account, they found no significant difference in terms of cow size class,” Scasta said. “Smaller cows weaned calves statistically similar to those weaned from the bigger cows, riding the roller coaster of wet-dry-wet-dry,” he said. Calculating the input-output ratio, which is the pounds of grass consumed relative to the pounds of calf weaned, the smaller cows were weaning similar size calves across all wet-dry cycles, Scasta said, while eating less because their nutritional requirements were lower.

A 1,000 pound cow consumed 7½ pounds of grass per pound of weaned calf, according to the study. For a 1,200 pound cow that number jumped to 8½ pounds, and for 1,400 pound cow, it was 9½ pounds. “Basically, the larger cows had to eat more per pound of calf weaned,” he said. “Most ranchers have an efficiency target for the cow weaning a calf that is at least 50 percent of the cow’s body weight. So, a 1,000 pound cow should wean at least a 500 pound calf. In this study, the smaller cows were the only ones to reach that target,” Scasta said.

In another study, Scasta worked with a Wyoming ranch to analyze 8,000 cow/calf records with 13 years of data to determine which cow size is most efficient. The cow size on this ranch varied from 800 to 1,600 pounds, but the majority of the cows weighed 1,100 to 1,300 pounds, Scasta said.

From this data, Scasta found that the smaller to moderate size cows were closer to hitting the 50 percent cow size to weaning weight target, compared to their larger counterparts. “The 1,600 pound cows were actually pretty inefficient for the amount of grass they eat,” he said. “I think the data indicates managing for moderate size cows, and to not let them get bigger over time.” ❖

— Clark is a freelance livestock journalist from western Nebraska. She can be reached by email at

Fenceless Targeted Grazing Using Supplement Blocks

By   /  December 3, 2018

Sometimes landscape terrain and size makes temporary fencing too expensive or difficult to set up. Here’s an alternative that I’ve used successfully. From November of 2015 – an alternative to fencing that still directs your animals where you want them.

When Derek Bailey began looking at ways to move animals across landscapes it was because he wanted a way to protect riparian areas from damage due to overgrazing. He and his fellow researchers set low-moisture supplement blocks on ungrazed uplands and then herded the cattle to the area.  “We were flabbergasted! We were just terribly surprised,” he said, when they found that went from spending 1% of their time in the study plot, to them spending 32% of their time within 600 yards of the low-moisture supplement blocks. It got them thinking about how ranchers could use this tool to improve the quality of their rangelands for livestock and wildlife while improving profits at the same time.

Derek describes the results of his work in this 19 minute video. In case you’ve got a slow connection, I’ve included the video’s highlights below along with tips for getting started with low-moisture blocks.

The video is part of a SARE-funded grant I worked on with Beth Burritt of Utah State University. Our focus was on sharing ways that folks can use animal behavior to accomplish their goals rather than spending money on equipment and infrastructure.

What’s a Low-Moisture Supplement Block?

The product is made by heating up molasses and then cooling it into a very hard block that can only be licked, not bitten or chewed. Different manufacturers have different recipes but in general they all provide additional energy, protein and vitamin and minerals. They were originally created to be a supplement to low quality forage. They work because the protein in the supplement feeds the rumen’s microbes. That gives the microbes the ability to break down mature/dry forage and turn it into something useable.

The positive feedback from the nutrition in the block and the nutrition that animals can make from licking it explains why low-moisture blocks are a better attractant than salt. Derek explains:

“A lot of people have asked me over the years, wouldn’t salt work just as well? It’s a lot cheaper and we put it out there anyway. And my answer is ‘Sure salt helps. But it’s not very persuasive. It’s not very powerful.” These maps, showing the movements of radio-collared cows demonstrate what he’s talking about.  The pink dots on the first map show where cows grazed in relationship to the placement of the low-moisture blocks.  The blue dots on the second map show that grazing was much more dispersed when there was only salt placed in the pasture.

Map of grazing with low-moisture blocks placed in the top center of the map.

Map of grazing when salt was placed in the upper center of the map (see the 2 white dots).

Derek also found out that low-moisture blocks were better attractants than either hay or range cake. As Derek says:

“Low moisture blocks last a long time, so they’re always there. But if you feed something like hay or cake, animals will readily come, eat it all up and spend about an hour a day where we feed. But if we put a low-moisture block they’ll spend 5 hours within 100 yards of the location.” He also notes that feeding hay or cake requires a lot more time and money to deliver.

Are Low-Moisture Blocks For You?

Find out by asking yourself some questions. First, do you have a forage quality problem? The answer is yes if you look out at your pastures and your grass is not green and you see lots of dry, mature forage.  Like this picture from the video:

Low Quality Forage

Next, do you have a distribution problem?  Are there areas of your range or pasture that are rarely used? Derek’s review of pastures in Montana and in New Mexico showed that in large pastures with rough or steep terrain about 1/3 of the pasture received very little grazing. If that’s the case in your pasture, what would happen if you could use that pasture? Derek figures that using that pasture could extend the grazing season or allow more cattle to be run on the same amount of pasture.

Is It Economical?

Rangeland Economist, Dr. Alan Turrell puts it this way, “If you can replace relatively high-priced hay by staying out on rangeland longer because of feeding the block then that was a very valuable, economical tool.” Ranchers like Melvin Armstrong who participated in one of the studies in Montana said that using low-moisture blocks allowed them to use rangeland that hadn’t been used in the 4o years he’d been running his ranch. But specifics about the costs will vary by location and forage conditions at different ranches. Turrell suggests that ranchers do what they normally do: figure out what the cost is compared to the potential benefit in gain and reduced winter forage costs to determine what will work best in their particular case. To make that easier, here’s an Xcel-based calculator where you can plug in the cost of winter feed and compare it to the cost of using low-moisture blocks to extend the grazing season.

How Do You Use Low-Moisture Blocks?

Here are Derek’s tips for being successful:

Cows lick molasses block1. Make sure the animals know what the blocks are before you begin.
“You can’t expect a cow to walk a long ways if they don’t know what the product is,” says Derek. They introduced the blocks to their herd at calving season when the cows were close to the home place. Then when they saw it out on range they knew what it was and they were more likely to travel long distances, up a steep hill to go eat it.

2. There has to be something around the block for them to graze.

3. Show your animals where the block is.
You can place the block and then herd the cows to it the first time so that they know where it is. Then they’ll return on their own to eat it. Once cattle know where a block is, you can place subsequent blocks in a succession, 200 yards or so from the first one, working your way across the landscape. Just don’t put the new block too far from the old one, or they may not find it. Also, the more mountainous your terrain, or the more trees you have, the more you need to do to make sure your herd knows where you are putting new blocks. In Montana, where it was fairly open, Derek found that the cattle would follow the paths where he had driven his vehicle to drop off the next tub. Other researchers have trained cattle to recognize a flag that they placed near the low-moisture block. When the cows saw the flag, they headed over to find their new block. The flag could then be used to move cattle easily to new locations. Finally, Derek says, “You don’t have to show every single animal.  If you show a fourth to a third of the herd, the rest will soon learn where it is.

How Much Product Do You Need?

4wheeler and trailer hauling supplementDerek has found that one 250 pound supplement tub will last 25 cows 2 weeks. But if you can’t drive to your location, you’ll need to consider the smaller size tubs and adjust your quantities accordingly. Derek has hauled smaller tubs on pack horse, but normally used the 250 pound tubs, hauling them with a 4-wheeler and a trailer.

Ranchers See Success

Participants in the study were very positive about the results.  One noted that it kept his cows in a part of the pasture that was rarely used, giving rest to other areas that were typically grazed hard. Another said it gave him summer pasture that he wouldn’t otherwise have, and without that he’d graze 400 less cattle and one less family would be able to make a living at the ranch.

Figuring If It Works For You

Beth Burritt at Utah State University put together a couple of Xcel based calculators to help you do the math for figuring out how much nutrient you need and how much supplementing with low moisture block might compare to feeding hay during the winter. You can download them below and use them to see how low moisture blocks might help you out.

Nutrient Reqs and Costs

Click to download this calculator and try it out.

8 Things Every Person Should Do Before 8 A.M.

I understand that most Ranchers/Farmers are up and going wat before 8:00 am. This is a list of habits that can be incorporated into your daily routine – that after time may help in your Business, your Family, and your overall Health.

Benjamin Hardy

“We would rather be ruined than changed
We would rather die in our dread
Than climb the cross of the moment
And let our illusions die.” — W. H. Auden

Most people’s lives are a reflection of their past, rather than their future.

For most people, today will look quite similar to tomorrow. 2019 will look similar to 2018.

Most people’s lives are highly predictable. And there’s a very good reason. Your brain is quite literally a “prediction machine”designed to keep you from situations and scenarios filled with uncertainty and possibility of failure.

According to several psychologists, the foundation of all fears is the “unknown.” We want our lives to be predictable. We don’t want to deal with the intense emotions involved in doing something new and different.

Trying something new and attempting to change your life will, without a doubt, cause anxiety. But according to the philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard, “To venture causes anxiety, but not to venture is to lose one’s self. Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.”

In order to move forward in your life, you’ll need to embrace difficulty and uncertainty — or what you might typically consider “anxiety” which Kierkegaard called the “dizziness” of freedom.

Embracing a bigger future is how you change. And according to Albert Einstein, “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”

The only way to change is to stop explaining your life by your past and to start explaining your lifebased on your future.

You get to design your life and your future. But in order to do so, you must stop living from your past.

Today can’t be the same as what happened yesterday.

If you really want to get healthy, then you probably can’t eat today what you ate yesterday.

Stop repeating the past.

Rather than repeating the behavior of your past, you need to act today based on the life you want to have tomorrow.

If you wait for tomorrow to start acting how you should today, then you really are just repeating yesterday. As Professor Harold Hill has said — “You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays.”

Developing Confidence And Changing Your Life

You cannot have confidence in your life without positively moving forward toward a bigger and better future.

If you’re days, weeks, and years are a repeating of the past, then you’re not confident.

Living a comfortable and predictable life is actually a clear reflection of your lack of confidence.

You can only have confidence after you’ve begun living a better life — and then, that confidence allows you to think bigger about what is possible.

Confidence is the byproduct of prior success. This is one of the reasons it is completely essential that you begin your morning with a routine.

The purpose of a morning routine is to get yourself moving toward your grand and exciting future. If you don’t have an exciting future that you’re working toward, then you are literally stuck in the past. And when stuck in the past, you cannot change your life, but only repeat the patterns that got you here.

When you repeat the patterns that got you here, you’ll have a lot of empty yesterdays.

When you start the day in a higher and more powerful way, you’ll immediately begin turning your future a different direction from your past.

With this short morning routine, your life will quickly change.

It may seem like a long list. But in short, it’s really quite simple:

  • Wake up
  • Get confidence and motivation
  • Get inspired and connected
  • Get your body moving
  • Act courageously
  • Create something
  • Put a little energy into your key relationships

Let’s begin:

1. Get A Healthy 7+ Hours of Sleep

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) conducted surveys revealing that at least 40 million Americans suffer from over 70 different sleep disorders. Not only that, 60 percent of adults, and 69 percent of children, experience one or more sleep problems a few nights or more during a week.

In addition, more than 40 percent of adults experience daytime sleepiness severe enough to interfere with their daily activities at least a few days each month — with 20 percent reporting problem sleepiness a few days a week or more.

On the flip side, getting a healthy amount of sleep is linked to:

  • Increased memory
  • Longer life
  • Decreased inflammation
  • Increased creativity
  • Increased attention and focus
  • Decreased fat and increased muscle mass with exercise
  • Lower stress
  • Decreased dependence on stimulants like caffeine
  • Decreased risk of getting into accidents
  • Decreased risk of depression
  • And tons more… google it.

The very act of waking up earlier will create an enormous sense of motivation in your life.

Like confidence, motivation is the byproduct of action. You can’t be motivated without taking positive steps forward toward a desired future.

As Harvard psychologist, Jerome Bruner said, “You’re more likely to act yourself into feeling than feeling yourself into action.”

Waking up early has the power of making you “psychologically bulletproof.”

If you wake up early and — rather than getting sucked into the distraction of your smartphone or the addiction to stimulants — you start vividly imagining your desired future and boldly acting toward that future, then your life will quickly change. It’s not rocket science. It just takes having something worth striving for and taking action.

Motivation is something you must create every day. You can only be motivated if you’re moving forward.

2. Prayer and Meditation to Facilitate Clarity and Abundance

“When you change the way you see things, the things you see change.” — Dr. Wayne Dyer

After waking from a healthy and restful sleep session, prayer and meditation are crucial for orienting yourself toward the positive. What you focus on expands.

Prayer and meditation facilitate intense gratitude for all that you have. Gratitude is having an abundance mindset. When you think abundantly, the world is your oyster. There is limitless opportunity and possibility for you.

People are magnets. When you’re grateful for what you have, you will attract more of the positive and good. Gratitude is contagious.

Gratitude may be the most important key to success. It has been called the mother of all virtues.

If you start every morning putting yourself in a space of gratitude and clarity, you will attract the best the world has to offer, and not get distracted.

3. Write In Your Journal For 5–15 Minutes

“Hope looks forward. Faith knows it has already received and acts accordingly.” — Florence Shinn

When you write down your dreams in vivid detail, you begin to engage both your conscious and subconscious minds. Drawing out your dreams in the form of a mind-map is also very powerful for engaging both sides of your brain.

Writing down your dreams and deeply visualizing them will make them more emotional for you.

Until your dreams become emotional, they won’t be powerful enough. You need to reconstruct your identity and memory by developing a new and emotionally-driven vision of your future.

As you write your dreams down every single day, write down the ways in which you will actually achieve those dreams.

As you write down your dreams and goals, the right people will start popping into your mind. A key part of your success will be learning how to position yourself such that you can connect and collaborate with the right WHO’s.

You’ll need to first develop lots of personal capability yourself in order to be someone worth connecting and collaborating with.

You need to:

  • Make a firm and committed decision about what you want to become a master of
  • Embrace fully the “process” of development
  • Only care about what certain people think and ignore everyone else
  • Become so good you cannot be ignored
  • Help the right people further their goals
  • Invest in the right mentorships
  • Make it about your mentor’s goals
  • Be a giver
  • Never lose track of your WHY
  • Never become complacent about the success you experience
  • Make huge requests
  • Ask to collaborate with your heroes once you’ve established credibility and helped them in incredible ways

All of this stuff can and should happen in your journal long before it occurs in reality. You then act and continue acting in powerful ways and watch as your journal entries become more vivid and clear. Watch as your goals become realities quicker and quicker and quicker.

4. Hard Physical Activity

Despite endless evidence of the need for exercise, only one-third of American men and women between the ages of 25 to 64 years engage in regular physical activity according to the Center for Disease Control’s National Health Interview Survey.

If you want to be among the healthy, happy, and productive people in the world, get in the habit of regular exercise. Many people go immediately to the gym to get their body moving. I have lately found that doing yard work in the wee hours of the morning generates an intense inflow of inspiration and clarity.

Whatever your preference, get your body moving.

Exercise has been found to decrease your chance of depression, anxiety, and stress. It is also related to higher success in your career.

If you don’t care about your body, every other aspect of your life will suffer. Humans are holistic beings.

5. Act Courageously

“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.” — Tim Ferriss

You don’t have to constantly be battling your fears. Actually, Darren Hardy has said that you can be a coward 99.9305556% of the time (to be exact). You only need to be courageous for 20 seconds at a time.

Twenty seconds of fear is all you need. If you courageously confront fear for 20 seconds every single day, before you know it, you’ll be in a different socio-economic and social situation.

Make that call.

Ask that question.

Pitch that idea.

Post that video.

Whatever it is you feel you want to do–do it. The anticipation of the event is far more painful than the event itself. So just do it and end the inner-conflict.

In most cases, your fears are unfounded. As Seth Godin has explained, our comfort zone and our safety zone are not the same things. It is completely safe to make an uncomfortable phone call. You are not going to die. Don’t equate the two. Recognize that most things outside your comfort zone are completely safe.

You can’t change your life without courage.

Courage is always required to get from where you currently are to where you want to be. As Mastin Kipp has said, “Unless you’re in mortal danger, fear is a compass showing you where to go.”

6. Create Something (Eat The Frog!)

“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” — Sir Ken Robinson

You’re not rewarded in life for what you know. Instead, you’re rewarded in life for what you create. You must take your knowledge and experiences and do something with them. You need to find a creative outlet that allows you to build a body of work.

In order to do truly creative work, you must embrace the unknown. As Seth Godin said, “If you’re willing to do something that might not work, you’re closer to becoming an artist.” Creativity is highly personal and emotional. Good art is honest. And art can be anything — it can be a business, it can be writing, it can be coding. It needs to be something that is personal to you.

You have to be willing to try something beyond what you’ve ever done before. If you wake up every day and begin doing highly creative work toward your biggest dreams and ambitions, you’ll begin living a rare and incredible life.

In order to make millions of dollars and stop living the 9–5, you must become a creator. You need to become a master at what you do. The morning time is the best time to creatively work since your brain is most creative first thing in the morning and your mind isn’t muddled by all the happenings of the day.

Mark Twain once wrote, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” That quote has become a principle that many successful people apply. The idea is simple: put first things first. Do the hardest and most creative thing first thing in the morning. If you don’t do your most important work first thing in the morning, you probably will never get it done. The day will begin to take on whatever form it does, and you’ll be left with another day stuck in the same place you were before.

If, however, you do eat that frog every single day, you’ll begin to see something truly magical happen in your life. You’ll begin living a creative and harmoniously passionate life. You’ll begin to create things that other people want. You’ll begin to feel more zest and passion for life. You’ll begin to dream bigger and imagine how you can turn your art into a business, such that you can make money by creating value for people in the most personal way you possibly can.

Ideally, you should try to spend at least 90 minutes per morning working on a creative project that directly translates to your ideal future and the dreams you’re trying to live. If you can give yourself more time, all the better. But shoot for 90 focused minutes of creation. Again, your phone should still be on airplane mode. You should not have checked email or social media.

7. Listen to/Read Uplifting Content

Ordinary people seek entertainment. Extraordinary people seek education and learning. It is common for the world’s most successful people to read at least one book per week. They are constantly learning.

I can easily get through one audiobook per week by just listening during my commute to school and while walking on campus.

Taking even 15–30 minutes every morning to read uplifting and instructive information changes you. It puts you in the zone to perform at your highest.

Over a long enough period of time, you will have read hundreds of books. You’ll be knowledgeable on several topics. You’ll think and see the world differently. You’ll be able to make more connections between different topics.

8. Invest In Your Key Relationships

In addition to moving your own life forward, you’ll want to deepen the connections with those you love.

Your relationships are a very clear indicator of your quality of life and character.

Relationships should be viewed as an investment rather than a cost. When they are viewed as an investment, then you start putting more into them. You start seeing their potential for growth and development.

When you invest in key relationships — both personal and professional — your life starts to change. According to Joe Polish, “Life gives to the giver and takes from the taker.”

If during your mornings, you proactively do something kind, thoughtful, and useful to someone important in your life, you’ll feel far more joy. You’ll also likely make huge progress toward your goals, because the more successful you become, the more your success depends on your relationships.


After you’ve done this, no matter what you have for the rest of your day, you’ll have done the important stuff first. You’ll have put yourself in a place to succeed. You’ll have inched toward your dreams.

Because you’ll have done all these things, you’ll show up better in life. You’ll be better at your job. You’ll be better in your relationships. You’ll be happier. You’ll be more confident. You’ll be more bold and daring. You’ll have more clarity and vision.

Your life will shortly change.

You can’t have mornings like this consistently without waking up to all that is incongruent in your life. Those things you despise will meet their demise. They’ll disappear and never return.

You’ll quickly find you’re doing the work you’re passionate about.

Your relationships will be passionate, meaningful, deep, and fun!

You will have freedom and abundance.

The world, and the universe will respond to you in beautiful ways.