I met Lucky McDaniels years ago, after I discovered that I liked to shoot guns, though I had absolutely no interest in killing anything.
Despite my enthusiasm, I realized that I wasn’t very good at hitting the clay birds used in skeet shooting.
I decided to take a class from Lucky McDaniels, a legendary shooting instructor.
During our first session, Lucky took five clay pigeons in one hand and a semi-automatic skeet shotgun in the other. He threw the five clay pigeons into the air and broke them all with five separate shots before they hit the ground. Because he had thrown the clay pigeons with his left hand, they had not gone in the air very far. I was impressed.
Lucky McDaniels had some simple lessons for shooting:
1. Keep both eyes open.
2. Keep both eyes on the target.
3. Don’t look at anything on the periphery.
4. Don’t get hung up on the sights on the barrel of the shotgun.
5. Don’t get hung up on anything between you and the target.
After my sessions with Lucky, I couldn’t wait to get back on the skeet range. I went from breaking fourteen or fifteen out of 25 clay pigeons to breaking all twenty-five, a perfect round.
His lessons for target shooting are also what goal setting is all about. I learned that I can hit almost any target when I keep my eyes open and focus on it.
My accomplishment was not so grand. These lessons are so simple, that even young children can learn them. When our three children were ages 10-13, I took them out to teach them how to shoot.
On our first outing, I threw the disk, which was about two inches in diameter, into the air a couple of times. Each of our children shot a little under the metal disk using a BB gun: I instructed them as Lucky McDaniels instructed me, “Keep both eyes on the target.”
By concentrating on the disk, we could see the BB passing under it. Within a few more shots, each one hit the disk in the air. They wore safety glasses, all three were excellent shots.
As great a shooter as Lucky McDaniels was, I determined I could even shoot better – provided Lucky had both eyes blindfolded! Just as the principles of good shooting Lucky McDaniels taught me, relate perfectly to what I know about goal-setting, so does the idea that, without goals and objectives, we are no more effective than a blindfolded shooter, no matter how expert he or she may be.
Know what you’re aiming for. When we don’t set our goals or have clear-cut objectives, we are blindfolding ourselves.