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With the postponed 2020 Japan Olympics currently underway, the lesson from an archer seems very appropriate to imbibe.  Archery in many ways is also perhaps one of the oldest sports that humankind invented, more as a hunting skill but later turning it into a sport. Among Olympic disciplines apart from the marathon, archery is one sport that still traces its roots to ancient times. The lessons from the archer amplify learning that will also help us reflect on what we need to focus on when we are confronted with difficulties, fail to achieve our objectives and feel frustrated that we are unable to attain what we aim for.

The archer’s profound observation that ‘ failure to hit the target is never the fault of the target’ holds a valuable lesson in identifying problems correctly. An even more insightful observation is to improve your aim, improve yourself ’.

The key to self improvement lies in the following:

Accept that we all have scope for improvement – Every day is a new day and each day brings new changes, new learning and always the opportunity to improve ourselves. The changes often creep into our lives and embrace us even if we do not want to accept them. A classic case is the constant evolution of technology that is influencing our life; like it or not we cannot escape it. New learning may not force itself but the realization that we need to be updated or perish should spur us on to imbibe new learning. However, what makes us easily accept change and imbibe new learning is the mindset that there is scope for improvement each moment. Once that attitude of seeking improvement percolates within us we will clearly see and grasp every opportunity that comes our way.

Recognize that improvement is a lifelong process – Look back at history and see how the human race has progressed. Today each of us enjoying the fruits of the improvement that our ancestors have perused and pursued over the ages. It is now time for us to realize that we need to take forward that process by seeking improvement each day because, until the last breath of our life, there is scope to discover, experience, seek and embrace new things. Even failure when we attempt improvement is just a message that there is scope for us to try again and master what we failed at. Success implies that we have not yet tested the limits of our potential.

There are various means to improve if we keep seeking it out – Personal improvement does not have a syllabus nor does it have any boundaries or limits. We have to seek out more and discover innovative ways and means to progress in life. While sometimes a mentor is required, frequently structured learning helps out but the improvement that takes place constantly happens through the trials and experiences gained in the grind of life. When aids and abets us is the courage to move out of our comfort zone and test and taste new experiences. It also helps to be creative, experimental and observant. Improvement will happen when we dare to seek, willingly embrace change and treat failure and success as equal partners in our quest for progress.

Try these:           

  1. List out a few dares to do for yourself which will test your courage, encompass a hidden/ latent desire and give you a feeling of real achievement when you do it. E.g. climb a mountain or do an expert course on a passion you have or learn a completely new skill or go on a solo trip to a distant location or simply visit a place that you have never visited before like an old age home/hospice/prison/foster care center/pet adoption center etc.
  2. Outline 5 new challenging improvements that you will endeavor to bring about in your life in the next 5 months before the year-end. List out the steps you will take to achieve it and start on that immediately.
  3. Try something new that you never dared to before e.g. different styles of art/ craft, writing an article or short story or poetry or giving a talk to a class of students or meet a celebrity and interview that person etc.
  4. Check out this link on How to be creative so that you can dare to experiment.

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Bobby Jacob

Bobby Jacob

‘ He hopes to have a positive influence on his readers through his blog posts’

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