In Ryan Holiday’s newest book Stillness is the Key he mentions the great archery teacher Awa Kenzo.
“What Kenzo wanted students to do was to put the thought of hitting the target out of their minds. He wanted them to detach even from the idea of an outcome.”
He would have them fire shot after shot after shot at a target, not trying to hit the center at all. The technical wasn’t really taught, what was more important was the idea of detachment.
When you don’t care about the outcome, what’s going to stress you out?
Will it take longer to achieve mastery this way? We might think so, but in reality it’s the opposite.
When you’ve detached, when your only worry is getting a shot up there, no matter where it lands, you are more likely to be successful in the long term.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care about the outcomes in our lives, we should channel and direct our energies to manifest a reality that makes us smile and helps us get what we want out of life.
It just means that the process on the way to that outcome is more important. We much detach from the arrow in the bulls-eye and instead attach to the system that helps us get there.
Focusing primarily on that system will help us measure what matters and what we can influence instead of what is outside our control.
In their recent article, the minimalists talk about how having NO GOALS has changed their life.
But…isn’t that for people with no ambition? People who just want to get fat and watch movies all day?
On the contrary, it’s for people with the ambition to live in the present. It’s for people who want to be happy today, not just when they achieve some goal they set for themselves.
Anyone can be ambitious, but it takes a very intentional person to actually live each day in harmony with their ambitions.
In the words of C.S. Lewis – referring to trying to live a good life because of Faith in Christ, but it definitely applies elsewhere:
“Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.”
This is how mortality was meant to be lived. I don’t think anyone who is not off their rocker would argue with that.