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Life is punny sometimes, but setting goats can help

Column by John Mattingly

Modern Life – April 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

A recent ad in a Boulder paper read:


Must be self-starter, highly motivated, and goat-oriented.

Because I husbanded a good number of goats in the past, and because I take a Horny Goat Weed pill on occasion to charge my batteries, I suspected I might be among a small group of fully qualified people for the position.

As anyone who is goat-oriented knows, there is a mindset for establishing goats that is S.M.A.R.T. (Simple, Mathematic, Apropos, Reversible, and Titillating.) The goat-oriented individual understands that without goats, one has no destination. If you’re totally unguided by goats, you don’t know where you’re going, which means you probably won’t get there.

To convince this potential employer of my commitment to goat-orientation, I included a few tips about setting goats in my résumé for the sales position.

Dear Sirs,

I believe anyone with the depth of goat-orientation I possess is necessarily (if not unavoidably) a highly-motivated self-starter. This is what I have learned about goats over the years:

1. Make sure it’s a goat you really want and not just a goat that looks or sounds good from a distance.

2. Be sure the goat you’re trying to reach, if you in fact reach it, would not subvert other goats you want or already have. This means keeping your goats in line. A crooked goat never led to success.

3. Develop goats in all areas of your life: family, work, hobbies, spiritual, physical, mental, financial, educational, cultural, and ethical.

4. Draw a picture of the goat you want, and draw it in a positive way, perhaps touching up parts of the goat that don’t look or smell very good. In other words, get your goats out there in the favorable light of day.

5. Before going to bed, write about your goats, visualize them the way you want them in you life. In the morning, share your goats with those you love and trust.

6. Consider enlisting the help of a goat enforcer. Life coaches can often make a significant difference in whether or not you grab the full potential of your goat. It doesn’t hurt to attend at least one goat-inspirational each year as a way of re-dedicating to your high-priority goats.

7. Don’t be afraid to revise your goat. Just because a goat looked good at first glance doesn’t mean it’s the goat for you forever. Leave no goat unturned.

8. Study the goats of highly successful people and don’t be afraid to imitate them if you see strategic advantages in doing so.

9. Balance your prospects by seeking both long term goats and near term goats. Otherwise known as Putting Your Goat on a Pedestal, this practice ensures you will never sit in the Middle of the Road.

10. Recognize that your goats are not your dreams.

I have not heard back from the NEW GREEN COMPANY, but expect to be establishing goats for them in the near future.

John Mattingly is a recovering San Luis Valley farmer who once had both goats and goals. He is the author of Melancholy Green Giants, a novel recently published by Mirage Press.