Thinking Like a Horse: The Secret To Successful Living

by Monique L. Ravesloot

We live in a culture driven by a hunger for success. When talking about success, we typically talk about making billions of dollars, authoring multiple bestsellers, or rising to fame. But if we ask people who actually do those things for their definition of success, their interpretation of the word has little to do with their famous achievements. Instead, their sentiments surprisingly mimic those of one of man’s oldest allies: the horse.

Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, is worth some $5 billion and equates success with personal fulfillment. “Too many people measure how successful they are by how much money they make or the people that they associate with,” he wrote on LinkedIn. “In my opinion, true success should be measured by how happy you are.” American poet, singer, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou defined success as “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” Author Steven Covey of the bestselling book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People told the New York Times: “If you carefully consider what you want to be said of you in the funeral experience, you will find your definition of success.

When friends and loved ones have their own clear definitions of success, it is tempting to take their opinion and accept it as our own. However, the average American will spend 90,000 hours in his/her lifetime working toward some form of success. Once we have made the decision to ignore self-directed wisdom and instead use those 90,000 hours to chase someone else’s definition of success, we’ve put ourselves at risk for a lifetime of unhappiness.

But we can also decide to set ourselves free. When we draw our attention inwards, to find at the seat of consciousness a compass for self-determination, we practice existential authenticity. Authenticity is a concept in psychology as well as philosophy. Existentialism is a theory emphasizing us as free and responsible agents determining our own development through acts of will. Authenticity refers to the degree of us being true to our own personality, despite external pressures.

Horses are the masters of practicing existential authenticity. When energies inside start to move, a horse respects their message. Horses rely on nonverbal language, which offers little interference with their self-determined notion of self. A horse neither worries, nor gets lost in playing the ‘what if’ game. The horse has neither ability nor desire to be anything but authentic, and in the lack of masquerade lies tremendous freedom of being.

If we want to take advantage of these human and animal secrets to successful living, we must think like a horse and direct our consciousness toward the yearning deep inside. What does it want for us and what is the message there? By reconnecting with our uneasy feelings, we allow ourselves to center at our authentic home base. From there we can safely create and pursue a self-directed, self-determined life of soul-stirring success, in health, happiness and energetic being.

Starting in September, EquineFlow hosts their third Pursue Your Path Women’s Leadership Masterclass from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday evenings in Piedmont, SC. For more information, visit or call 864-906-7576.