Hitting Targets

Just for the fun of target-practice, I have a dart-board as well as some Nerf and Airsoft guns. Something I’ve noticed is: the more accurate the gun, the lesser the fun. What’s the point if I hit the bullseye every time the trigger’s pulled? It’s the intermittent reward that seems most rewarding.

For me, the activity with the most longevity in terms of target-practice has been darts. This is probably because it’s the most inaccurate. I can be off by a lot, only to get two darts in a row within the bullseye on the very next round. It feels like a real accomplishment when I get a double-bulls-eye — I’ve never gotten all three in the bullseye within a single round for instance.

The point being, whatever we attempt in life, we should expect to miss. What adds fun to our activites, is the inaccuracy of our aim. We’re supposed to be clumsy clods meandering our way through life. There’s even a Twilight Zone episode called “A Nice Place to Visit” (S01, E28) in which the main-character is provided everything he wants, in fact he can’t lose no matter what he tries — every spin’s a winner. Spoiler Alert! It turns out he was in Hell.

The outcomes of games are meaningless — there’s no actual prize at the end, it’s “Game Over” for everyone. The only significance to playing is whether you enjoy yourself while doing it. And the only way to enjoy yourself is to lose a lot, creating some tension, building-up anticipation for winning.

If you ever find yourself feeling like a loser, it means you’re taking things way too seriously and lacking perspective. Complete mastery is not something you want — you want to be able to lose, you want to stumble on your way to the finish-line feeling like you might not make it — it’s the only way to feel the thrill of triumph.