On Riding Dead Horses

The following wisdom is from the CMA Management Monthly:

“The ancient tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians says that when you discover you’re riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount. Some organizations today, however, having invested sizable amounts in unsuccessful programs, try different approaches.” 

That is true of individuals also. They’re following conclusions related to solutions also apply to individuals.

“Buy stronger whips.

Change riders.

Ask other organizations how they ride dead horses.

Hire consultants to ride dead horses.

Harness several dead horses together to increase speed.

Provide added funding to increase dead horse’s performance.

Experiment to see if lighter riders would improve productivity.

Promote dead horses to supervisory positions.”

Dead horses is a metaphor for things that don’t work. They are analogous for bad habits. Familiarity with a dead horse in our life makes it difficult to dismount. We get comfortable in the saddle and are hesitant to give it up.

If you were capable of viewing your life objectively, would you admit that there are some dead horses? If so, take the bridle off and give up one effort to try for one life gallop. 

Scripture makes several appeals for us to dismount our dead horses, such as:

“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices …” (Colossians 3: 5 – 17 ESV)

The following doubles-down on that theme:

“To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, …” (Ephesians 4: 22 – 32 ESV)

There is another category of dead horses. It is things that are not really sin, they simply occupy us and keep us from that which would make for a contented and productive life. They are not bad in themselves, they simply keep us from that which is better. Think about it.