Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

The bow, the arrow and the target

Author: Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho

The target

The target is the objective to be attained.

It was chosen by you. Here lies the beauty of the path: you can never apologize by saying that the adversary was stronger. Because it was you who chose your target, and you are responsible for it.

If you look on the target as an enemy, you might even make a good shot but you will not manage to improve anything in yourself. You will spend your life just trying to put an arrow in the center of something made of paper or wood, which is absolutely useless. And when you are with other people you will complain all the time that you do not do anything interesting.

That is why you need to choose your objective, do your very best to attain it, look upon it with respect and dignity: you have to know what it means, how much effort it has taken, how much training and intuition.

When you look at the target, concentrate not just on it but on everything going on around you, because when the arrow is shot, it will have to deal with factors that you miss, such as wind, weight and distance.

The objective only exists insofar as a man is capable of dreaming of reaching it. What justifies its existence is desire – or else it would be something dead, a distant dream, a daydream.

So, just as intention seeks its objective, the objective likewise seeks man’s intention, for that is what gives our life a meaning: it is no longer just an idea, but the center of the archer’s world.

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