Subscribe for 33¢ / day

What is your occupation? Are you doing what you want to do?

If you are, you’re probably exceedingly happy. If not, you’re probably frustrated.

When I was born, my parents sent out a birth announcement that said, “A new cowboy has been born!” Sure enough, I grew up doing ranch work and riding in rodeos all over the country.

Now, I don’t think it was the birth announcement that determined my future. But who knows?

When I was a child, my parents owned a fat-armed green chair. A drawing tablet fit perfectly on those arms and, as a result, I spent endless hours seated there drawing and watching television. Often, I’d draw what I saw on TV. Somewhere, there is probably a Quonset full of those tablets.

Had it not been for that big green chair, I may not have ever drawn a picture in my life, except in church. So, in my case, the environment shaped the man.

Later on in high school, my English teacher suggested that I had a talent for assembling sentences and, when it was time for me to go to college and decide what it was I wanted to do in life, I chose the two things I most enjoyed doing and decided to major in art and journalism.

I love assembling articles, columns and stories. They begin as a blank page and then come to life, as if they were birthed in a journalistic paternity ward.

I also love the challenge of asking people what they’d like to see me write about in my column then fashion an article based upon that idea. It’s fun. So much fun that time flies by while I’m doing it, and that’s the way it should be when you’re doing what it is you love. After all, that’s what God made you for and, as a result, it’s what you’re happiest doing.

But, of course, I have other interests too. Like history, for example.

I could care less about medieval times in England or Genghis Khan. Because I love the stories about the Wild West, especially since so much of that history happened right here. It was my grandfather, a horse wrangler in the early 1900s, who planted that interest in me.

Born in 1884, he and his family still had to occasionally leave their South Dakota ranch/farm to escape Indian uprisings. He eventually moved to where I grew up in North Dakota, a stone’s throw from the Canadian and Montana borders, and it was his stories that made me thirst for more.

Still, you might be surprised to learn that there is nothing in life that improves your health, happiness and does more to lengthen your life than helping others.

Even the Bible says: “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” And we are to use the gifts and interests that we’ve been given to do just that.

And that makes everyone happy, doesn’t it?

Kevin Holten is president of the North Dakota Cowboy Association and executive producer of "Special Cowboy Moments" on RFD-TV.