#1: Nothing worth having comes easily.
In so many ways, raising rabbits has taught me that you if want something that will pay off in the long run, something to be proud of, you have to work at it. It took me 4 years of breeding show rabbits to win consistently at 3 different shows. I have used this motto towards implementing a healthy lifestyle for myself, and towards school at college. Hard work does pay off in the long run, but it might take a little while.
#2: Dedication, commitment, and passion.
I think these three things are related very closely so that's why I grouped them together. If you want to succeed or do well in something, no matter what it is, whether school, your work, or hobby, you need to be dedicated. You need to be committed to seeing that project to the very end. And in the same train of thought, to do well in something, and to be truly dedicated and committed, you have to be passionate about it. Even if your work is boring, or your school isn't fun, you can find something to be passionate about. Whether it's something little in that work atmosphere, or something big like your future career when you graduate. Have your eye on a goal and don't take your eye off of that goal until you've reached it.
#3: Money management and budgeting.
Raising rabbits is not cheap. They need food, hay, food dishes, nest boxes, water bottles, a cage, and the list goes on and on. If you want to breed competitive show rabbits, you need to save money for show entries, or to buy new cages or new rabbits to improve the ones you have. There have been countless times when I haven't been able to buy something I wanted, like a pair of shoes or a new outfit, because I needed to save money for feed, show entries, or a new bunny. I can't go with my friends to the mall whenever I want to buy a cute outfit or pair of shoes, because I might need new toys or grooming supplies for the bunnies. In addition, raising rabbits has taught me valuable budgeting skills. I like knowing how much I make (or don't make) at the end of the year, so I keep detailed records of everything I buy and all the rabbits I sell or boarders I take in.
I have been homeschooled up until this past year, and as most of you know, some homeschoolers don't have the best social skills. I remember when I first started raising rabbits, I hated talking to strangers on the phone. I needed to do it for ordering in feed, or interacting with rabbit clients, so I had to learn how to do it well. I don't mind it now, and it comes easily to me. I have people that email me daily asking if I have rabbits for sale or asking a question about their bunny. I have to answer these emails quickly and professionally, because it's polite but also because I could lose a lot of my business in selling pets if I were rude and standoffish. Whenever I do have rabbits for sale, I need to interact in person with strangers and I need to be able to talk about a rabbit's strengths and faults and I want to be genuine, and kind towards them, even if they aren't that way towards me. I need to be articulate and efficient when I'm talking with bunny buyers, so they know the ins and outs of owning rabbits, or owning that particular rabbit in general. I would hate for a rabbit to come back to me because I didn't explain something well enough to the buyer.
#5: How to lose well.
Just like with any sport, showing animals teaches the importance of losing well. "Poor spots" or "sore losers" are sad; they take all the fun out of the hobby or sport. Losing well also entails understanding when you did try your best, but it just wasn't good enough yet, so doing something differently or trying even harder the next time. I've never done super well in shows until recently, and that was ok to me, because I knew that I just needed to keep trying and someday I would get there.
On another note, it's also important to remember that the people are more important in this hobby than the ribbons or recognition that comes from winning. I have some close friends that I show against in every show, but we don't let the competition ruin our friendship. We are happy for each other when the opposite person wins, and I think there is some amazing wisdom in that. Throughout our whole lives we will need to learn how to be a friend to someone who is better than us at something.