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  • Writer's pictureA.J.N. Gallagher

Attitude: The Arrow of success

When I started writing the first incarnation of Genaro in 1989 (Which I subsequently abandoned in 1991) I decided to research archery, since one of the characters was an archeress from the Highland Temple.

I quickly found myself caught up in the world of archery and have been involved with it in some form or another ever since.

There are so many forms of archery, but I was drawn to the hunting aspect as I and my friends at the time were into hunting. I brought a hunting bow and accessories and was soon happily shooting at targets at the local club to prepare for an upcoming hunt and for club competitions that were on a regular basis.

I quickly learned that archery is more of a mental discipline than a physical exercise, although you need to be ‘Bow Fit’ if your body going to have the stamina to shoot the 200 arrows for a competition. This is important as some bows can be between 45-60lb depending on the class you choose.

As I said, archery is a mental discipline, and your mental attitude, confidence and desire to improve is the key to success. I coached archery for a while, and one individual I coached had exceptional skill, but even with these skills, it was their mental attitude that was their final demise.

I could get them to score tens with ease. (the bullseye) but if one arrow went a skew, they would fold and not recover. The subsequent arrows bearing the brunt of that one missed shot, and adding to the cycle that followed.

I would spend hours teaching the individual the keys to recover quickly, using the skills taught to me by other archers over the years.

-Shoot one arrow at a time. -Once that arrow is left the bow, reset, move on to the next one and go through the shooting steps -Don’t focus on what went wrong. Reset, focus on getting the next one right by going through the steps. -The one you’re shooting is the one you 're focusing on. -go through the steps to release. (These are the seven steps to shooting target. Feet, nock, aim, raise bow arm, draw, sight, release) There may be other steps but these are the basics.

You may have noticed I added aim before raise bow arm. This is something a Bow hunter taught me. He said you hit what you aim at. I found it worked for me as I was aiming at the target before I drew the bow.

I was also taught, ‘shoot like you don’t care but aim like it does.’

These keys showed me that your mind was relaxed while your aim was focused and driven. When I shot like this, my aim and enjoyment of the sport improved.

I wondered if these skills could be transferable into other areas of life and found that they were.

You may be wondering what happened to the individual I was coaching. They moved onto other coaches, but in the end their attitude finally tripped them up at a major event. They abandoned archery and took up another sport.

I feel for them and hope that in time they will come back to the sport. Their skills will always be there, ready to pick up when they conquer their attitude. How we see a situation and the attitude we employ toward it will bring growth and success or failure and disappointment. I believe it is true what I have heard. 'We are what we believe.'

Ive seen the same situation affect individuals in a totally different manner depending on their attitude towards it, but the outcome was different.

One excelled through it while the other struggled. One saw it as an opportunity to grow, while the other saw it as a burden to endure.

Adversity comes. We know that. There’s now way round it, but the way we handle always comes back to us and the attitude we employ.

Sometimes success is measured more by our attitude than the outcome, and even though success may not come at the beginning, building a foundation of a healthy attitude will prepare the groundwork for our inevitable success.

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