It takes a lot of hard work to hit the bullseye, doesn’t
it? Seemingly endless preparation. Grit. Practice. Maturity. Talent
(talent? how did that get in there? Does talent take hard work?).
Backbone. Elbow grease. Tenacity. Perserverance. Resolve. Fortitude.
Nerve. Steel. It seems it takes a lot of those things that drain you
just thinking about them. Whew!
But what if it doesn’t? I mean what if you could hit the bullseye
without blood, sweat, and tears? What if you could just march in there,
take a perfect shot, and be done with it? That would be worth knowing
about, wouldn’t it? Save a lot of time and labor, not to mention mental
There’s an ancient story about an archer who went looking for the
perfect master, someone who could help him truly ascend the throne of
his chosen discipline. He wandered the countryside for years in search
of the perfect teacher until one day as he approached a village he was
greeted by an arrow stuck in a tree, it’s shaft piercing the very
center of a three-ringed bullseye. Hmmm,
interesting, he thought as he made his way towards the center of
All along the route he saw one bullseye after the next, each with the
same three rings but painted in the most unlikely of locations. One was
high atop cliff and another down in a gorge. There was a dart in the
center of three rings on a stone out in the middle of a river and one
on the rim of a wheel laying by the side of the road.
Each bullseye he came across was more remarkable than the last until he
made his mind up that here in this tiny village he would find the
master he had sought for so long. He found the head of the community
and asked to be led to the master archer. “The what?” the mayor asked.
The master archer, the one who has let fly one remarkable arrow after
the next. I did not see a single shaft that was amiss. They all had
found the very center of their target!
“Ahhhh, I see,” said the mayor, “Come with me.” The mayor led
the archer to the outskirts of town where there was a young boy with a
bow and arrow. After shooting each of his arrows he would hunt it down,
and paint three rings around it, wherever it had landed. His skill was
not so much in shooting the arrow as it was making his way to the far
off destination he had been able to puncture. His only discernment was
in not hunting down those arrows that had failed to lodge somewhere
altogether. Those he put back in his quiver or threw away if they had
Is this a joke? A frivolous story? Hardly. There is something profound
to be distilled from this tale. Each action we take carries us along
our way, developing and maturing, and is a bullseye in its own context
if not a superlative feat in a contest where the rules are set in
advance by others.
But, what about success in the world? What about delivering results?
What about bringing home the bacon and delighting the customer who has
certain standards, expectations, hopes, and desires?
Here is my advice in that regard: Go straight for the outcome,
seek the very center of the target and you will be amazed at what you
can drop by the wayside. There are few and far between who know
how to focus on the desired outcome and it alone. Those that do lower
their labor their intensity remarkably, which frees them to focus their
aim, attention, and efforts on only the very best.
There is more than way to achieve the bullseye. What if you could find a way to
hit the very center of the target without all the accoutrements others
want you to carry? You would indeed be operating with a light load. And
perhaps that is exactly what you need to perform at your very best.