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Food for Thought

Morgan McArthur for Straight Furrow

When you belly up to a bowl of Dick Hubbard’s best cereal you not only get breakfast for your body, you also get help for your head.

Mr. Hubbard is a New Zealand breakfast food maker with an exceptional feed range. This isn’t an endorsement for the Prince of Porridge, but I do like his products.

And his ethics.

In every box of his cereal Dick includes a great little newsletter he writes called The Clipboard. Hubbard is a positive bloke and he’s Kiwi to the core. He’s keen on helping New Zealanders believe in themselves and encourages them to be proud to live there.

In one version of The Clipboard he talked about how he once approached the producers of the TV show “Fair Go” and suggested that they bring balance to their programming. He asked them, ‘Why not highlight a few things that have gone right instead of always pointing a finger at things that have gone wrong?’

Their response? ‘Bad news is good news but good news surely ain’t.’

If you think about it, we’re asked to eat a steady diet of bad news. The papers are full of it. Most of television is a waste of time. And if you’re marinating your mind in the gripefest that is talkback radio… well, it’s hard not to have an outlook that’s grim to the brim.

We can choose how much of that crap we take in.

Some time ago I was in Alexandra, New Zealand as part of the Central Vets’ Farmer Expo, a day-long educational event held for Central Otago farmers. The featured speaker was a progressive Aussie sheep farmer named Geoff Daniel. Geoff has successfully weathered severe drought more than once and he shared how he deals with seasons that are dry-‘til-you-cry.

He was remarkably positive and forward-thinking and had a lot of practical things to say. A powerful take-home message for me, though, was his perspective about whose advice we listen to.

He said, ‘Talk to other switched-on farmers. Avoid the whingeing and complaining and self-pity that passes for conversation at the pub or saleyard. There will be people out there with a positive attitude and who are facing the same problems as you. They may be your most important resource. Or you might be theirs.’

What I get from Dick Hubbard, Geoff Daniel and leading farmers that I meet is that they’re passionate, positive people. They look for the good in life and they like to be with people of similar outlook. By choice. It makes a difference.

All I’m on about today is whatever we put in our mouth at breakfast and our mind all day will affect how we see the world. We need to choose both carefully for best results.

And that’s some food for thought.


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