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Modern Hunting Rifle "Heym Keilerbüchse"

Modern Hunting Rifle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I came across the Rifleman’s Creed the other day and was struck by its simplicity and truth.

It simply says,

My rifle and myself know that what counts in this war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, nor the smoke that we make.

We know that it is the hits that count!

This is a terrific reminder that in a world that often values busyness and activity, it’s our ability to focus our efforts on a few critical actions that create outstanding results that matter.

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Greek mythology tells the story of Odysseus, who was travelling home to Ithaca after many years of travelling and adventures.

When within sight of his final destination he decided to have a nap.

His crew thought that he had a large amount of gold in a bag, so they opened it.  Instead of finding gold, they released the winds that were held there, blowing the entire fleet back out to sea.

As a result, Odysseus and his men spent many more years at sea, with many of them failing to return to their homeland.

How frustrating!

So close to home, the final destination within reach and a something as simple as a brief nap cost them years of hard work.

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Photo by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

I’m a genuine hack at golf.

However, I have learned one valuable lesson from the game that is relevant for many other areas of life.

If you ever have to hit your ball over a body of water, the temptation is to say to yourself repeatedly, “Don’t hit the ball in the water” before you take a swing.

Unfortunately, all that does is focus your subconscious mind on the obstacle in front of you, increasing your likelihood of actually hitting the ball into the water.

Instead, you need to focus on hitting the ball high into the sky and landing it safely on the other side.  This way of thinking will dramatically increase your chances of a positive outcome.

Remember this principle when confronted with other obstacles in life.

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Gary Neville playing for Manchester United F.C.

Image via Wikipedia

Manchester United right-back Gary Neville announced his retirement from first team football today.

He was one of those players fans loved to hate.  He was much-loved at Old Trafford for his passion for the club and was despised by opposition supporters (especially Liverpool ones) for his combative style and outspoken nature.

Gary retires after 602 games for his club and another 85 for his country with an incredible eight Premiership medallions (no-one from any other club has more than three), a European Champions League and three FA Cup Medals amongst other awards.

Upon the announcement of his retirement, Manchester United Manager, Sir Alex Ferguson described him as “the best English right-back of his generation.”  High praise indeed!

So what makes Gary Neville inspirational?

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This week, we have witnessed in horror the incredibly tragic floods in Queensland, Australia.

Unfortunately, in the midst of the destruction and loss of life, there have been individuals who have tried to find a scapegoat for such events, attempting to find someone to blame.  From the state government’s dam policy  to Kevin Rudd’s foreign policy, theories have been created with little to no factual evidence to support them.

Apportioning blame for such events is pointless and self-aggrandizing.  It focusses attention in the wrong places, on the problem, not the solution.

It’s an unnecessary distraction, but unfortunately playing the blame game is one that we can all fall into the trap of playing.

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Dogs are described as man’s best friends and they can be great fun to have around. 

My wife and I had two great Golden Retrievers who were brilliant companions in our house until age finally took its toll about 18 months ago.

What can we learn from our canine friends?

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