Rule #49: Ready, Aim, Fire
When you were all very young you use to play with water guns and other inappropriate violent toys in games of war. Nerf guns were always the weapon of choice at the Hills’, and the battles would rage on in the basement and lawn for many hours.
Despite the dire warnings of my more liberal friends, that these games would cause you to be violent. none of you have yet to purchase a weapon more powerful than a paintball gun. As of this writing not even one of you have climbed a church tower to have target practice on your neighbors. That’s what I call effective parenting!
What these games did teach you was the importance of three words; Ready, Aim, Fire!
The concept was simple you find a target, steady your weapon and focus it on your intended target, than when the victim is in both sight and range you fire. This simple concept was well applied in the playing fields of youth, but most people I have met in my life have forgotten, or perhaps never learned this important rule.
I have found that there are three groups of people in the world when it comes to living this phrase:
Group # 1: Ready, Aim,Aim Aim…..
This group of people comprise about 70% of the population and they are people that are intelligent enough to see the opportunity that the world gives them and skilled enough to be able to hit the targets of life, yet never pull the trigger.
Many people blame fear for this failure to act, but I don’t think its really fear that stops the actions but a reluctance to risk change. When I was in my first jobs in business I got promoted rapidly because I was willing to risk the next day being different from today by making choices when I wasn’t absolutely certain of the outcome. This may seem like dangerous behavior but its not like jumping off the edge of a cliff, uncertain of how far the drop would be, rather its more of a calculated risk.
By calculated I mean that you’ve seen that type of edge before and know generally most of the falls are less than 3 feet, and only one in a thousand are the dangerously high, and you’ve got padding and a helmet so even if the drop is unexpectedly large you will be banged up but still survive. And you know that by making that leap your life will be changed, maybe for the good, maybe for the bad but certainly changed. It is the processing of not only knowing all the risks are associated with a move in life but also accepting the unknown.
Like Phil Conners trapped in his perpetual Punxsutawney-ian perdicament of a never ending day, many people are caught in the never ending process of planning and replanning for the future and never living. The lesson of the movie Groundhog Day is that we should challenge ourselves to find opportunity within the day, to take risks and interact with one another if for no other reason but to experience life. Walking around focused so much on assessing risk and avoidance of pain keeps us from feeling what life is..all sides of life.
You will be faced with many opportunities in life, things that will be clear forks in the road that will require a yes or no choice with little or no time to prepare for those choices. The people of the Ready, Aim, Aim, Aim…. group in most cases choose not to make decision at all, but to let the inaction of life direct their next move. These people are the frogs on the log being swept by the current of life too fearful of jumping off to make a move and too uncertain about the future to enjoy the ride. Even if the decision is a bad one to stay on the log, enjoy the plung over the waterfall, it will be a great ride and a life worth living.
Group #2- Fire, Aim, Ready
This group of people comprises about 30% of the population and are the ADD participants of life. They see so many choices and opportunities and lack the ability to process and sort through them. This group becomes furstrated by the complexity and instead of make a decision say yes to to everything, in in some cases no to everything.
It is one thing to assess the the risk including the risk of not assessing everything, it’s another thing to just wander through life obvious to consequences. We see they train wrecks of life like Charlie “Dying’s for fools, dying’s for amateurs.” (“20/20.”) Sheen or Brittney ” shave my head” Spears and cringed. Sadly these incidents of Firing before aiming or in some cases not even thinging, are becoming more common.
I think the tendency of the group to is to basically give up on reality and face the world with a false vibrato of taking all comers. It is Popeye-estic approach to life telling people ” I am what I am, so deal with me”. Although on the surface this seems confident and powerful, by not aiming at things this group becomes destructive and hurtful.
The process of thinking about what needs to be done ( ready), then planning how to do it in away that minimizes damage and maximizes return (aim), followed by action is the most effective way of implementing things. Tact in our society, I believe due largely to the advent of the Jersey Shore Reality Series on MTV, has become seen by many as a weakness. There is always an implied wimpiness to thinking before acting that is wrong.
Group #3 : Ready, Aim …Fire
The 10% of the population that can put it all together, acting and not avoiding, and thinking and not just reacting, go through life with much more success and happiness. It is the balance the process that makes it successful.
For you my children I want you to always find a way to act on what opportunities life has given you, but to find a way to do it in an intelligent respectful way.