Life is Busy Contemplation #1: How to Set Your Sights on Greatness

Life is busy and time to contemplate can get lost in the shuffle.  We know things which sometimes we forget.  I am trying to remember.  Here are some principles that come to mind.

  • We tend to hit the things we aim at

If we're aiming toward a tree we tend to hit the tree, especially rather than whatever is in the opposite direction.  We may not hit the tree, but we'll hit closer to it than if we aim for something else.

Someone that wants to be an entertainer probably is not well served by becoming a policeman, or at least they are less likely to become an entertainer if they focus on something other than entertainment.  In life there are no guarantees, which is what we really want.  We want to know that if we try something, we will succeed.  No such guarantee exists.

Still, we're more likely to achieve something, or succeed in the direction of something, if we focus on it and if we make it our explicit target.

  • The tendency to hit our target gets greater the more shots we take

If one is not already an expert marksman, one cannot expect to hit a target on the first shot.  The first shot will give us an idea of what corrections to make, the second shot will give us a better idea of further refinements, and so forth.  If we miss on either side of the target, they we have it bracketed and we will hit it with adjustments, if we just keep taking shots.

It is completely unreasonable to think we will be successful at something new right off the bat.  Humans are born with limited instinctive skills, but with an amazing ability to learn and adapt.  Success tends to come from the focused targeting and learning as we persevere until we hit our mark.

  • When our egos discourage us from shooting at our target, they do us a disservice

Egos are a social artifact of our personality, a personal manifestation of our status in the group, however they discourage us from taking shots at new things.  Missing a target is generally seen as a failure socially, but we cannot expect to hit a new target on the first try.  The effect of the ego can be to avoid trying things which are new and different. 

When the ego is in the way, the answer may be to be anti-social, pursuing our goals apart from the scrutiny of those in our social circle.  You may go into seclusion and not talk to your old friends for a year, you might share fewer details of your life with your parents during this period, old romantic interests may be avoided.  This may be necessary to keep shooting at your target without emotional turmoil and distraction.

  • Remember we are social animals

While different people are different, Man in general is a social animal, we define ourselves in terms of other humans and human society.  Ultimately we cannot have a meaningful life taking shots for eternity with no one around.  If a person chops down a tree in a forest and no one else hears it fall, it doesn't mean anything.  There is going to be a limit on how long you can shoot for something in isolation, so if we can find a social environment that supports our endeavors rather than challenges our ego, we are in a better position to persevere toward the great goals we have had the courage to set for ourselves.

Perhaps we can be great without accomplishing great things, but striving for great things is part of the human make-up.  We should remember to focus on that we really want to achieve, and know that it takes many attempts and perseverance to achieve great things.  Keeping our ego out of the way may mean we need to avoid relationships that engage our ego during our trial and errors, but we all need people and there will be people out there who can be supportive as we strive for greatness.

This is all stuff that you and I know, but writing it down, or reading it, may help us remember that personal path each of us needs to choose.  After all, life is busy and sometimes there is little time to contemplate.
Lift your head up to look for shore, then get back to paddling your canoe!

Posted via email from Random Eric


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