Posts Tagged ‘rodeo clown’

Level 5 Courage

rodeo clownLevel 5 Courage is hard to describe and harder to recognize.  What is it?  Who has it?  What is it good for?  To understand it, look to the rodeo clown.

You’ve seen the rodeo clown. A strange looking thing – funny clothes that don’t fit, a silly hat that doesn’t stay on, and bright red suspenders meant for bulls not pants. He’s all fun and games on the surface, but serious as a heart attack when seen at depth.  Underneath the clownness he does serious, meaningful work, work for the benefit of others.

Surely the cowboy needs gumption to sit atop a big, angry bull, a bull whose sole purpose is to use his raging bullness to enthusiastically eject his unwelcomed rider. Certainly the cowboy has courage.  But is it Level 5 Courage?  Maybe.

What’s the first thing the cowboy does after being pitched to the dirt? He gets up and runs like hell away from the bull. And the clown?  He runs like hell toward the bull. When everything natural says run away, the unnatural rodeo clown runs toward. And he runs with purpose, with precision, with intent. He runs at the pointy parts, and he runs to re-aim them.  Level 5 Courage – guaranteed.


This cannot be taught – rodeo clowns are born, not made.


When the crowd sits in the grandstand they want to see the cowboy.  But when the cowboy sits on the bull he wants to see the clown.  Sitting atop an angry, frothing bull, knowing the fury to follow, the cowboy finds comfort in the funny clothes hiding behind the barrel. With the briefest eye-to-eye connection the pact is made.  The cowboy knows it will be all right.  No mater what, the clown will be there – guaranteed.  Even at the expense personal safety. The clown gets meaning from this work.  This is why he is a clown.

There is a powerful bond between clown and cowboy. And cowboys always buy the beer.  Always.  Cowboys understand clowns are special and clowns like to be appreciated for what they really are.  It works for both.

Cowboys are right – rodeo clowns are special, but they’re hard to recognize; you must look deeply to see them.  So keep an eye out.  Once you recognize them, don’t make them turn in their funny clothes and suspenders. Appreciate them for what they are and they will make things all right.  Level 5 Courage – guaranteed.

Mike Shipulski Mike Shipulski
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