The Story Behind The Buffalo

I have lived in, and survived, many storms in life, like waves crashing on the shore, one followed by the next…as I’m sure you have…and I have learned to live the wisdom that an old Hopi man named Gene Crow gave me when I was a boy.

Gene Crow meant the world to my grandpa, and the few times that my grandpa took me fishing (I lived in Virginia and he lived in Arizona, so I only visited a few times) we drove an hour off course to pick up Gene.  I recall sitting in my grandpas small metal boat late one night, water dog baited lines teasing the catfish below, Gene leaned over and told me a story about the buffalo and the cow.

At the time it didn’t make much sense, but it has stuck with me, and has become a story I hold very dear and live by.

As a herd of buffalo grazed in a field, a fierce storm crossed the horizon.  The buffalo looked at the storm wall, and as if they had one mind, stood tall and charged the storm.  As they met the storm they kept running, in relentless pursuit of the other side.  The storm was violent, but short lived because they ran through it.

 On the other hand, a  nearby herd of cows looked up and saw that same storm.  They nervously looked at one another, and discussed what they should do. As the storm wall got closer, one of them got scared, turned from the storm, and began to run away.  The other cows, out of fear and indecision, did the same. Unfortunately, the entire herd got caught in the violent storm for much longer, as they were both moving in the same direction. They suffered because of their decision to run away from the storm. 

In this life, you will face many storms…and you will have to choose each time if you will be like the buffalo or the cow.  Choose before the storms cross the horizon.

I wrestled with deep depression from the age of 13, a war I still fight today.  I built a storehouse of regrets through my teenage years, and created a world in my head that I didn’t have any right to be in.  I made myself worthless…a cow running from the storms of life.

My senior year I got invited to youth group by a girl I really liked (no, we’re not married).  As I began going weekly, her family wrapped around me and I started to learn about this Jesus guy whose grace is sufficient…even for me.

I didn’t believe I was worth saving.  I was a cow stuck in the storm.  What good could I be to God.  How could I be used to make a difference.

At 18, I sat in a tent with a loaded gun.  As I lifted it to my head…I began to cry.  I don’t know how else to explain it, other than God wouldn’t let me pull the trigger.

I spent the entire night arguing, yelling, crying, and begging.  If I had to stay in this place…God had to do something with my life.

Spoiler Alert:  I’m still here!

That storm passed.

There have been many other storms, and continue to be, but I handle them much more like the buffalo now than the cow.


Now, I spend my life helping people live, love, and lead in the story they were made for.

I believe that the first step in charging any storm is knowing who you are…not knowing how big or violent the storm will be.  You can’t control the storm…only yourself.  That’s why I guide people to discover and confidently live out who they’re made to be.

Next, you have to have a vision of the other side of the storm…freshly watered and fertile ground. Simply surviving will beat you down and take the breath out of your lungs…and that’s how most people I meet are living life.  Reactively.

Finally, you need to build the bridge from identity to dreams, called habits. Custom tailoring, testing, and changing habits will alter patterns of thinking, which is based on the idea of mirror neurons, neuroplasticity, and how we behave as humans.


My Challenge To You:

Whether you reach out to engage or you’ve read this page and I never hear from you or know who you are; I want to encourage you that you are made for a purpose, your life can be meaningful, and you can make a tremendous difference in the world around you.

The storms will come. You can’t stop them.  What you can control is how you will respond and lead through them.


Grace and Peace,
Brad O’Hara

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The Story Behind the Buffalo




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