If you could just wake up one morning and be a USPSA Grandmaster, would you? Or is the value in the result created by the effort it took to get there in the first place?
One of the funny things about value is that it’s something that is personally determined. So for example, let’s say you really want to make USPSA Grandmaster because it’s the highest objective rank in the action shooting sports. The value you get from that rank is entirely determined by how much value you personally place on it.
I’m sure that there are plenty of people who if they could just wake up and be super talented at whatever their passion is, be it car racing, shooting, music, or even juggling geese that they absolutely would. For those people, the value of the journey is determined by the destination, regardless of how much or little effort went into it.
You might think it’s a pointless discussion, because to acquire any sort of physical skill, you have to work at it. Yes, some people are genetically more talented with faster reflexes, better hand-eye coordination and things like that, but they still have to work to be truly great. Think about pro sports for a moment – every year in baseball, there is a crop of young kids coming up from college or the minors that have all kinds of raw talent, but ultimately they don’t make it. Some of them just aren’t good enough to hack it at the major league level, but others don’t hack it because they don’t do the work necessary to make it. Hours in the batting cages, fielding grounders, whatever it takes.
The same rule applies to getting better at the shooting sports. I’m sure everyone would like to be able to shoot like Dave Sevigny does, but lack the motivation to train the way Dave does. Because ultimately, it is a decision of motivation. Some folks are more motivated to spend time with family or friends, which is probably the right choice than to go dry fire, or spend countless hours working on perfecting the minutiae of a reload. Other people would rather watch TV, play video games, or read a book. None of these are wrong choices, because for most of those people shooting is just a hobby.
And that brings us back to the journey itself, because there’s value in sacrifice. When I look at a day where I went to the gym on my lunch break instead of sitting around surfing the internet, or when I did 45 minutes of dry fire instead of watching TV, those days are days with value. Because on those days I made the choice to make myself better, even if it’s just better at playing a game, I can look and say “today I am better at something than I was yesterday.” That’s why the value of the journey is the road itself; sure the destination is awesome, but once you get there you realize there is another journey just starting right behind it.