Following on from my last post about small changes, it's always good to try something new. So this week I tried knife and axe throwing. A bit random perhaps but it was in honor of my brother, Dave's, birthday - and who doesn't want to pass up the opportunity to throw sharp pointy things at a target?
It was waaaaaaay too much fun. I peaked too early, managing a reasonable amount of success with the 'angels' pictured, which are a bit like a three headed mini axe and then significantly less success with the straight knives (hiding underneath the angels) which I couldn't land pointy end in for love nor money. As for the axes, well one of them managed to hit the roof and sail clean through the protective netting, sending the instructor into the undergrowth to retrieve it! I roared with laughter!
This got me thinking. I'm not a competitive person - to be quite honest I can't be bothered with it. I can be incredibly driven and dedicated but that's me trying to prove something to myself without reference to anyone else. None of us get out of this thing called 'life' alive and spending time trying to 'beat' other people seems like a massive waste of time to me. Victory is often transient and ultimately unfulfilling because if you view everything as a victory or failure you're likely to find you fail far more than you succeed - that's life. That's not to throw shade on amazing sportspeople and their achievements - or anyone else for that matter - for me the achievement is in the journey and dedication a person has shown to become the best they can be without reference to 'victory' over another person. I was forced into being competitive as a child and saw first hand the damage it did to me and to others in the same situation. The fire that burns within you is always far stronger than the one lit under you. Fueling either with the wrong propellant ultimately does more long term harm than good.
I sucked at knife throwing but it was still great fun. I'd do it again in a heartbeat and still suck at it but still laugh just as much. Victory should never be the motivator for doing anything. If you ever feel the need for some motivational quotes I can recommend looking up Thomas Edison (he of the light bulb amongst other things). One of my favorite quotes is:
"I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work."
"I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun."
The second quote may be a bit harder for most of us to live by with mortgages and bills etc to pay but the theory is a sound one. Mental health issues are affecting people more and more, often fueled by unobtainable ideals sold to us by the media. Social media shows us the shiny side of life without revealing the struggle beneath. Why am I sharing all this? Because I'd like to encourage people to stop conforming to hierarchies which are ultimately destructive and just enjoy the ride. Go and play a game of something with friends or family - but don't keep a score! Try something different not because you want to see who is best at it but because you enjoy the experience! See who can make everyone else laugh the most with trick shots or by goofing about! If we measured 'success' by how much fun we had the world would be a much better place. Our collective mental health would also be significantly improved!
Thus endeth the lesson. Getting off the soapbox now. You may all resume normal life - just make sure you have some fun!