THE BULLSEYE AIM
My home was found at last with a school and way called Stoic. What a difference this thinking and living has made. The terms of Temperance, Fortitude, Limits, Apathy, and Indifference.
I'm sorely tempted to slip my humble book under the door of the house called Stoic. I wonder if it'll fit through so gaping a crack?
This is not because my story is so much, but that it may be too much. Could I not have said the same thing with far fewer words? Could not a greater economy of expression have conveyed these ideas better? Or more concisely? Or with greater accuracy towards the mark? How can I align my Objectives and Principles with a discipline of which I am such a novice? Should I not instead place my little guide upon some other shelf, or at the edge of my desk or better still into the desk drawer? Wouldn't this be the more modest and reserved thing to do? How much better to answer Stoic principles with Stoic modesty and ways? Perhaps... Yet, I must also answer to my own judgement and call to arms. And my judgement declares my work Stoic. And my call to arms demands I seek alignment with this tribe.
And so, I will call my work Stoic. And I will share it as such. And speak of it as such. And live my Objectives and Principles as though they were Stoic objects. And thus, I will live my life and share my story. A Stoic life and story. The story of Going Alone and the story of The Good Life.
Holding my tongue
During a discussion with a coworker today I realized I had said too much. It would have been better if I had left off speaking after my point had been made and clearly understood. But no, I decided to lay in with an extra thirty-seconds of explanation just to hear myself speak. This was clearly not necessary and superfluous to my aim. I would have been better to hold my tongue.
But, is it better to speak less in a more absolute sense? If so, then how about being silent always? For if silence is golden, then imagine the luster of perfect quiet. I think not. As complete silence may miss the mark of living. We may as well then be dead, that is, unless are very fact of our living communicates some message in its own right, like being the queen of England. But we are not kings or queens or sovereigns in any sense other than in being the potential masters of our own moments, and maybe not even then. And so, I’ll speak up and talk and share my thoughts. Sometimes these words will be in excess, sometimes they will be just enough, sometimes they may fail altogether. This is the idea behind the principle of the Bullseye Aim; that we try, and we strive, and we sometimes hit the mark, but mostly we missed the mark, the benefit being the disciplined act of trying.
The bullseye aim
Whenever I strive, I always fall short. For the fact of striving makes me miss the mark. It would be better to become educated, without seeking an education. Or make a living without the need of a job. Or enjoy friendship, without counting friends. Or adventure even, without packing or leaving home or even remaining at home— But this isn't practical at all, and no way to live and find a mate, and raise children, and make a home or live a life.
A near miss—
Even the bullseye hits,
A near miss—
So, I will grow, and become educated, and find adventure and then a job, and a mate, and make a home, filled with family and I will strive. All good things. All necessary things. And I will tell myself that I have thus hit the mark—and I have, in a way, hit a mark. And I will grow old, and become weak, and enjoy grandkids at my feet; such evidence I've hit a mark, such a very good life, such an excellent use of time. And I will be right—I have hit a mark. And I will die well satisfied in my bullseye aim. What else was there to strive for? What other aim could I see? What did I miss??
There is no other aim... Which is where striving never leads. For the bullseye is a silent and invisible thing, never gained through trying, never found after being sought. Never lived but through not living—and who does not wish to live?
And so grow, and become educated, and have adventure and then a job, and find a mate, and make a home, filled with family and do strive. All good things. All necessary things. But, do not expect to hit the mark—expect instead, to miss, always. And lift your chin to the sun and let a smile creep across your face, a genuine grin, through your eyes, of tempered expectation and anticipation of a good life whatever may come. A life of good striving. A life of good learning. A life of hard work. A life of family. And a life of friends, and laughter, and cherished moments, and—if very lucky—a gentle decline at the end overlooking all that was lived and done and become. Never asking...what did I miss?
But never, not once even, having hit the mark.
Nor ever, not once, having expected to.