“If you want truly to understand something, try to change it.”

Kurt Lewin

In a peculiar corner of the world where the grass hums and the mountains enjoy a good chuckle at dawn, there lived a buffalo named Dominic. Dominic wasn’t your run-of-the-mill, grass-chewing, herd-following buffalo. No, he had aspirations. Ideas. One could even say he was the buffalo equivalent of a philosopher, if that philosopher had a penchant for dramatic sighs and an inexplicable fascination with interpretive dance.

Dominic’s latest fixation was on the fundamental nature of being a buffalo. “Why must we always follow the herd?” he mused aloud, practicing his pirouettes by the watering hole. “Why can’t we, for instance, be solitary creatures, like the majestic albatross or the hermit crab with its eclectic choice in shell real estate?”

Determined to pioneer a new way of buffalo life, Dominic decided to become a solitary creature. He bid adieu to his befuddled herd, promising to write and maybe send a postcard from the edge of existential enlightenment. With a dramatic swish of his tail, he set off on his quest for individualism.

His first challenge was the sheer boredom of solitude. Dominic quickly realized that talking to oneself, while initially amusing, loses its charm around the hundredth self-debate on the best type of grass. “Is the green, succulent variety truly superior to the dry, crunchy kind?” he pondered, before remembering there was no one around to appreciate his culinary critique.

Next, Dominic attempted to redefine buffalo aesthetics. “Why must we all sport the same drab shade of brown?” he questioned, as he rolled in a patch of wildflowers, hoping their hues would adhere to his coat. The result was less ‘radiant rainbow’ and more ‘mud pie with sprinkles’, but Dominic wore his new look with an air of misplaced pride.

In his quest for individualism, Dominic also experimented with alternative diets (turns out, buffaloes have a low tolerance for spicy food), innovative sleeping positions (hanging upside down like a bat was a no-go), and even tried his hoof at poetry (the less said about that, the better).

As weeks turned into months, Dominic’s solo journey became the stuff of legend among the buffalo community. They whispered tales of his daring exploits, his questionable fashion choices, and his even more dubious culinary adventures.

Then, one fateful day, Dominic returned to the herd. Not with a sense of defeat, but with a newfound appreciation for the collective wisdom of the group. He regaled them with tales of his solitary escapades, each anecdote punctuated by laughter and a few sympathetic winces.

“What have you learned from your journey, Dominic?” asked the eldest buffalo, her eyes twinkling with mirth.

Dominic paused, struck by the profundity of the question. “I’ve learned that being a buffalo, or indeed any creature, isn’t about conforming to a single way of life. It’s about embracing our quirks, our individual follies, and finding joy in the shared journey. Also, never, under any circumstances, eat the red berries from the eastern valley.”

The herd erupted in laughter, their bellows echoing across the plains. Dominic, with his stained coat and slightly singed tail (another story for another time), smiled. He had set out to change the very essence of being a buffalo but ended up discovering the beauty in unity, diversity, and the occasional collective facepalm at one’s own absurdity.

From that day on, Dominic was a changed buffalo, and in his own peculiar way, he changed the herd too. They became more accepting of each other’s quirks, more adventurous in their tastes (though they wisely steered clear of the spicy food), and even tried their hooves at poetry nights, which were as disastrous as they were delightful.

And so, the tale of Dominic, the buffalo who dared to dance to the beat of his own drum (or hoof, in this case), became a legend. A humorous reminder that life is too short to always follow the herd, unless, of course, the herd is heading towards the best grazing spots. Then, by all means, follow away.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Product + Content Marketing at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.