The bow, the arrow and the target

Paulo Coelho

The arrow

The arrow is your intention. It is what joins the strength of the bow to the center of the target.

Our intentions have to be crystal-clear, straight and well balanced.

Once it leaves, it will not return, so it is better to interrupt a process – because the movements that led up to it were not precise and correct – than to act in any way just because the bow was already taut and the target already waiting.

But never fail to show your intention if the only thing that paralyzes you is the fear of making a mistake. If you perform the right movements, open your hand and release the string, take the necessary steps and face your challenges. Even if you do not hit the target, you will know how to correct your aim the next time.

If you do not take risks, you will never know the changes that needed to be made.

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Tomorrow: The Target


  1. orly says:

    the target – thats the one we r prepared for with our special bow,,, each one of us has his-hers special bow—— mine is powerful with amazing colours,,,, ready- ever ready for the target–which is just around the corner!!!!lol

  2. Barbsie says:

    Still standing here, many moons later, bow in position, arrow pulled back… Wondering when the gun would go off, indicating I can release.. Doesn’t seem to be coming… Oh darn it!

  3. Marie-Christine says:

    You know how to get Paulo’s attention, don’t you?
    It is going to be a free lesson….for sure.
    Have fun!

  4. Irina Black says:

    Arrow-timing(the ability to do something at exactly the right time).

  5. Alexandra says:

    Thats right,only having experience we can improve.And the results will surely appear ,if we will do our best,with no hesitation.You are a good teacher in archery,will you give lessons?

  6. Catherine says:

    keeping the balance and stillness of the arrow with the bow was always the difficulty ;o)

  7. Christine says:

    I have a question…what do you do if you aim & fire the arrow but a gust of wind or other third party gets involved and sabotages your shot? This is an important question for me because I feel that in my life a lot of my shots or intentions were missed because of me and a lot of shots were missed because of third party sabotage. A gust of wind I take as an act of God and a sign but a third party…I’m not sure how to view that. The shots that were lost because of me, I own. They were learning experiences that have taught me. The shots that were lost because of third party sabotage have only frustrated me. Sometimes people think that they know how to better live your life then you do or for reasons of jealousy and greed decide to control the situation holding you back. Is the answer to just keep trying to hit your target and hope to get one past them? I think there are probably many people who ask themselves that question…what do you think?

  8. THELMA says:

    Intentions and risks and … words and acts. I do not start anything unless I ‘feel’ inside me that I am ready. Ready to use my abilities but mostly my intuition. To follow the signs and act accordingly. If a failure is the result, I smile and say: ‘It has not been the right time yet. It was another trying. NEXT TIME or … NEXT LIFE!’

  9. NAETHELLE says:

    si l’archer se confond avec l’arc, la flèche et la cible c’est parce qu’en maí®trisant cette discipline la métaphore nous transforme en instrument opérant:
    je suis l’arc flexible tendu par la vie
    mon index se fait flèche qui dans son geste prend le temps de me montrer sa direction
    je suis au bout de mon index, la cible atteinte car je suis apte í  la discerner, í  l’indiquer, í  l’ atteindre.
    Ma vie quotidienne met en mouvement mon arc qui vibre, danse et s’exerce í  devenir le plus affí»té et lucide des outils í  ma disposition: mon corps.
    Je suis le véhicule, le chemin, le but en soi.
    Le parcours est ardu, l’arme doit íªtre légère et imperceptible, inexistente.
    J’oublierai ainsi que je ne suis qu’un fríªle arc en bambou.
    Merci Monsieur Coelho.
    Naethelle .

  10. Savita Vega says:

    In this, Paulo, you hit upon one of my greatest faults! I knew it was there, but could not have explained it so well myself.

    My fault is that, once I am in motion, once the process has begun – once I raise the bow up, turn my head, and take aim, drawing back the string – nothing in the world is going to stop me from releasing that arrow, not even my own realization that a fatal error has been made somewhere in this process.

    Let me give a concrete example: I write an email to someone with a particular goal in mind. In other words, not just to say, “Hi, how are you?” – not just to chat – but to get a particular point across, to convey what I genuinely think or feel, or in the hopes of affecting a specific outcome via that email. Once it is written, I will read over it, trying to imagine how the recipient will perceive the words written, trying to determine if this email will, in fact, get my point across clearly. And in reading it, I may think, “O, this just doesn’t sound quite right,” or “This part may not have the affect I intended, but perhaps just the opposite.” I may even realize, “This email is simply not a good idea at all. There is a better way to achieve this aim – maybe a phone call, perhaps a conversation,” but this won’t stop me from sending it, especially if the target upon which I have my eyes set is one about which I am particularly enthusiastic. I will let go of the string and fire that arrow, “just because the bow was already taut and the target already waiting.”

    And why do I do this? Because I LIKE to take risks – I like risk too much! I like it so much, in fact, that I am sloppy – firing a hundred arrows and thinking, “Well, one is eventually bound to hit the target dead center,” when one arrow, aimed with precision and in the right moment, would have sufficed just as well, and without all the peripheral damage.

    That must be the archer in me – the Sagittarius – running at top speed and firing wildly, just because I know that the arrows in my quiver are infinite in number and my arm, tireless. The with this is that I often KILL the target (mutilate it), when I only wanted to hit it, just once, dead center.

    Definitely I need to work on this: the next time I take aim and am in the position where I am ready to release the string, and yet I sense that something isn’t quite right, I must overcome my proclivity toward taking risks and stop myself, relax the bow, and begin again the whole process.

  11. sido says:

    The arrow: I hope that it will touch us all full heart, in the depths of our soul …… so that the love grows in the soul of the world