The Dumbest Question I’ve Ever Asked

(Photo credit: Arthur Tress)

What’s going on my friends?

Today, I’d like to share a recent experience that happened to me at the Archery Range.

There I was, walking up to the archery range, about an hour before dark, to try to figure out how to shoot the compound bow a little better. To my surprise, there was another archer there shooting at the targets.

Slightly confused and exited, I went over to greet this new person. In the last two months, there has never been another soul here. It seems archery is a very small community here, and it is rare to see someone else with interest in it.

After some small talk, we decided to shoot together, so he could give me some pointers on my form. An outside perspective is always helpful, as things we don’t notice ourselves are obvious to other people. We would shoot alternating at different targets, one arrow a piece.

We went from 20 yards and began shooting. Whatever confidence I had in shooting here(the deserted range being my comfort zone), deflated fairly quickly. This mysterious archer was kicking my ass up and down the range, hitting targets from 20 yards, within accuracy of a quarter or a nickel. He was stacking arrows(hitting and splitting a previous arrow stuck in the target with a new one), and looking very zen while doing it.

After about an hour, it was beginning to get dark, and I was ready to finish shooting and walk home. This is when I did it. I asked the dumbest question there is to ask:

“How long did it take you to get this good?!”

The guy kinda smiled and said, around 3 months. I immediately thought to myself: “Wow! Just three months! I bet I’ll get good in maybe 4-6 months, not bad!”

The other archer said to me: “I see you don’t have a stabilizer on your bow… I have an extra one from my old bow you can have”

I was both exited and grateful, and we went our separate ways.

The stupidity of my question did not strike me until weeks afterward, when I was at the archery shop asking the hunter who works there about the range.

I mention I saw another fella shooting a while ago and that he was extremely accurate. Also that his bow was very quiet. To that, he said:

“Oh, you’re probably talking about Brantley”

“Who?”

He described the guy and his bow in detail to me. Sure enough it was the same person. The orange and black bow was bought from the same store mine was. It was quiet because of limb silencers and shot at 80lbs. That bow cost $750, without any of the other gadgets I saw hanging off of it.

What I learned was that Brantley won money in the last archery competition here, and shoots around 250 times on a regular day.

For the second time in this story, my ego took another hit.

250 times a day – holy shit.

I get a shaky arm well before 100.

No wonder he became skillful in 3 months. My estimates were skewed, as I do not shoot nearly that much. It may have taken him 3 months, but it will take me a whole lot longer.

This is why the question: “How long will is take?” is a true dunce cap question.

There are a lot of factors that go into it, mainly consistency, frequency, volume of training and investment in gear.

Just because it took someone a certain measure of time to achieve a skill level does not mean anything to you personally. Only thing that matters is the result, not the time it took.

It takes as long takes. It will take as long as it takes.

I guess the moral of the story is, if you enjoy an activity and stick to it – you will develop some skill. Eventually. I think it’s best to do daily actions, and enjoy doing so. A timetable on skill is a self-defeating goal, which will disappoint you or inflate your ego.

That being said, it’s time for me to go do a few more shots at the range.

Maybe next time I see Brantley there, I won’t smack myself in the forearm with the bowstring.

Until Next Time, and

All the Best.

-A