who do you want to be?

In Hindu mythology, Arjun was considered one of the best archers and warriors in his era. He was certainly the most influential of all the Pandavas. His exceptional battle skills along with his sharp thinking made him unstoppable.

There’s a story from his childhood where Dronacharya, who was responsible for teaching both the Kauravas and Pandavas the skills of warfare, decided to put all of his disciples through a simple test.

He got all his students together and asked them to strike the eye of the wooden bird with an arrow. But before letting them take their chance, Dronarcharya asked each one of them a question.

He first called Yudhishthir, the eldest of the brothers and asked him, “What do you see there?” Yudhishthir replied, “I see a wooden bird, the branch and the tree, the leaves moving and other birds.” It was not the answer Dronacharya was looking for.

The other students who followed gave a similar response:  bird, leaves, branch, tree, and other elements, and Dronacharya, unsatisfied with their answer, asked them to put away their bow and arrow. When Arjun came forward, with an air of confidence, he said, “I can only see the eye of the bird.”

Dronacharya smiled because he was right. All other students had set their eyes on everything around the bird, but Arjun was the exception — he only set his eyes on the goal, the eye of the bird, and nothing else.

This is a key lesson both in archery and in life. Unless an archer aims for the target, he or she is unlikely to hit it. In this day and age, we need to be like Arjun and simply focus on our goal, not letting the distractions and noise bother us. With so many irrelevant things vying for our attention on a day-to-day basis, we need to train ourselves to step away from the chaos and concentrate on things that matter the most to us.

It’s important that we spend some time — real and uninterrupted — to figure out our personal pursuits. What’s most important to us? What brings us profound joy and satisfaction? What are our top priorities? And then, we need to ignore everything else, set our eyes on the goal, and work towards accomplishing that.