Pursuing Passions

November 10, 2020



by Lauren McMillan, NJHA director

As children, we were told to eat our vegetables so we could grow big and strong. We admired the people who told us to do this, so we ate our vegetables. However, that was not the only reason. This is an example of the heart of improvement seen at a young age. This improvement then transfers into adulthood. Everyone has a reason they pursue their goals. What makes them push through hard times, which makes them put in the hard work, or what helps them step outside of their comfort zone to grow as a person.

P.T. Barnum once said that “Comfort is the enemy of progress.” He went on to create the first circus in the history of the world. He did not do this to make money. Barnum created the circus so those who were different and had unique talents could have a place to shine. Although most of the community worked against him, he persevered for what he believed in. Along the way he lost his true meaning, however, his friends and family worked together to help him, “Come back home, from now on.”

As juniors in the cattle industry, many of us can relate to Barnum because we do not show cattle to solely earn money. We do so because we have a true passion for the breed and the people involved. As a junior association, we strive to improve our members of all ages, genders, cultural backgrounds and states. We cannot do this through one type of competition though, because everyone has their own reason to be passionate and work hard in the Hereford breed.

To focus on me, I have formed many passions and goals throughout my lifetime. As an Agricultural Leadership major at the University of Illinois, I have learned that my passion can be for many things. In these passions, I must find interest, appreciation, and enjoyment in the process. That is why I have continuously worked to stay active and prevalent in the Junior Hereford Association and the industry as a whole because I can find those qualities listed above. This is not only for my love of showing and working with cattle, but for the opportunity to help better myself, as well as, learn from the people around me.

As a whole, the National Junior Hereford Association has helped me find my passions in and outside of the breed. I grew up in the breed, along with many of you and I would not change those experiences for the world. It taught me how to work hard to achieve my goals. Every day, I work towards my future goals and hope to better those around me along the way. Just like Barnum, I am sure we all have “A Million Dreams”, but we must find our true passion inside of ourselves to make the change in our future.

So, I leave with these questions. What is your passion and what are you doing to pursue it?