The wind blew strong out of the North, bristling through the open window in the shooting house. There’s just something about a North wind that burns in November. The light was fading and I was doing that thing all hunters do when the seconds are dwindling. Shifting my eyes between the clock on my phone and the distant wood line, straining into the twilight for any movement. “Any moment now”, I thought, “its prime time”.
Suddenly a sound. In those moments everything is amplified in your mind. A simple rustle of leaves in the wind sounds like a giant walking through the woods. As I’m trying to decipher the sounds, I’m now battling my own heartbeat echoing in my ears. This could be the one. Having to really strain my eyes now to see the tree-line in the twilight I can’t really see anything moving. In a moment of clarity I raise my gun. I peer through the scope and the tree line becomes clear. It’s like someone switched on a flood light.
There it is. I can see it now. Moving just beyond the edge of the field. That’s where the giants live. They are too smart to wade into the open in the light, so they lurk just beyond, in the shadows. Ever cautious and leery. But now through the scope I can see the shape moving. The deer is slowly moving toward the edge. The battle is now between me, the clock, and the animal.
I pull off the scope and look again with my eyes. Too many shadows. I can’t identify the target. Back to the scope. There it is. The scope changes everything.
Rifle scopes are designed to do two things. They magnify so that the hunter can more precisely place the shot. But if all it did was magnify then the hunter would still be at the mercy of the light. Somewhat more importantly, a good scope illuminates the target. Scopes are designed to grab light from a wide field, amplify it and focus it on the viewing lens so that when you are looking into the shadows you can see more clearly.
One of the first rules I taught my son about shooting a gun is that you must always know what you are aiming at. If you can’t clearly identify your target you shouldn’t be shooting. Aim is critical in hunting. It’s the difference between harvest and hungry. How can you expect to hit something if you can’t see it? This is why most people spend more money on their scope than they do on their rifle. What good is the best shot if it isn’t aimed at the right place?
The same is true in my life. Being able to see, or having a vision, of where I want my life to be is critical. If you are living your life without vision you are risking starving to death. Hunger is a great motivator, but hunger alone won’t bring the harvest. You may have drive and ambition, even some talent or skill, but just simply having the “want to” will not be enough for you to realize your potential. You need a good scope. You need something to look through that throws light where your aiming. You have to be able to see where you are aiming.
Here are three tools, or scopes, you can use today to throw more light on your path.
Find a mentor. There will always be someone who is one chapter ahead of you in the book. The best way to put light on where you want to go is to find someone who has already been there. Is there someone in your life that you regard as successful in the field you are chasing? Ask questions and learn from their success, and even their failures.
Commit to being a learner. Read, listen and watch. Whatever you are pursuing there are resources everywhere to help you take your next step. Every minute we spend learning more about the things we are passionate about is never wasted time.
Get around people who are on the same path. You can’t grow alone. Spend time with people who will pull you up to their level, not people who will only use you as a ladder to step on as they climb. Your friends will determine your future.
After several more minutes looking through the scope as the last rays of light sunk below the tree line the target finally stepped from the shadows. My heart raced. I tried to slow my breathing to prepare for the shot. Then he emerged. A young, spike headed yearling buck. My finger came off the trigger as my heart sank. It was not to be his day. I went home hungry that day, but not empty. Those moments gave me a great lesson about why a good scope is so important.
Don’t give up on your pursuit. If you’re ready to take your life to the next stage, in whatever you’re chasing, maybe you just need a better scope.