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Opinions of Thursday, 4 December 2014

Journaliste: Kojo Yankson

Shooting lessons

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Yesterday, I had a conversation with a group of young people who had set a very large, but extremely important goal for themselves. I commended them for their efforts so far in trying to achieve their goal, but I could tell that they were quickly becoming overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of their undertaking. For their benefit, I wrote today's message of motivation. Now, some of you may have heard me talk about this before, but I guess it doesn't hurt to hear the truth twice.

I've never been a big fan of guns and firearms, but a few years ago, I had to learn how to shoot. I wasn't very good to begin with … I mean I wasn't totally useless, but let's just say the Sniper School wasn't going to be breaking down my door to sign me up. And then my instructor taught me something very important:

Aim small, miss small. If you want to hit the head of the target, aim for one eye. If you want to hit the chest, aim for one of the buttons on its shirt. So I tried it, and I was amazed at the results. You see, the human brain is interesting. Before that day, I would aim for the head and often miss it by an inch or so.

When I stopped aiming for the head and aimed for the eye instead, I still missed by about an inch or so, but an inch from the eye, meant my bullet would still land some place on the head. Every time. By focusing my target on something smaller within my wider goal, I ensured that even when I missed, I was still landing somewhere within my goal.

Now I'm sure you can already see how useful this can be as a life lesson. If you want to save GH?5000 this year, why don't you aim at saving 500 a month? Even if you miss GH?1000, or two months, you're still within target for the year. Or aim even smaller if you like: try GH?150 a week. Aim small, miss small. Or GH?30 a day. Aim small, miss small.

When you break down a larger goal into smaller chunks, it suddenly starts to look so much more achievable. And every time you hit a small goal, that deep, satisfying feeling you get will spur you on to hit your next target.

And the next. And the one after that as well. Now, if you ever miss a small goal, you don't feel at all disappointed, because you're still hitting that bigger target. Aim small, miss small, people. That's the plan from now on.

Especially you, my young friends. It only looks big because you're aiming big. Break it down, aim for one button at a time, and you'll make it in no time. My name is Kojo Yankson, and my target is your minds, so I'm aiming for your ears.

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