Friday, October 31, 2014

Where is the Dividing Line Between Confidence
and Arrogance?

Is it confidence? That is, a attitude or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something?

Or is it arrogance? That is, having or showing the insulting attitude of people who believe that they are better, smarter, or more important than other people?

I believe it is possible to think of a "yardstick" with confidence at one end and arrogance at the other. In order to do a good job of calf rearing one needs to be confident - I am doing the right things to keep my calves alive, healthy and growing well. Maybe a little touch of arrogance is needed, too - I know what is best in this situation for my calves regardless of what is recommended "in general" for calf rearing.

Last evening at a calf raisers meeting during a discussion of feeding preweaned calves during freezing weather and ways to feed more milk a person near me said essential this,

"Well, I don't think any of these ideas are good. I know how to feed baby calves. Feed them all the hay they want and they will do just fine. And, everyone knows you can't feed water to baby calves; they won't drink their milk."

I had to bite my tongue. What planet was she living on? Hadn't she heard anything the speakers were saying about best management practices for raising calves in western New York State?

Now, was that confidence or arrogance?

I lean toward the latter. "I know what is right, don't annoy me with the facts." Previous speakers had emphasized the importance of milk/milk replacer for nutrition for calves less than one month of age. Feeding ad lib. water and calf starter grain was emphasized. 

As I drove home from this evening meeting I began to think about how hard it is to keep an open mind. It is so easy to slip into the frame of mind that "my way is the only right way." I have to admit that when answering questions at meetings in countries away from North America I am often challenged to think beyond my comfort zone. Calf raising practices in these countries are often very different from those with which I am familiar.  The temptation is to condemn the unfamiliar and recommend the familiar.

On one hand, like the person at the calf meeting, how often have I dismissed unfamiliar ideas out of hand simply because they did not agree with my present point of view? On the other hand, I think a certain amount of skepticism is good - it keeps me questioning and searching. I hope these BLOG posts help keep you thinking. 


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