Sunday, January 4, 2009

103 days come to an end...

Tomorrow is the day. It is the end of a 103 day pursuit of Tennessee whitetails. It’s interesting to consider the internal struggle I’ve fought over the past two weeks. I know many of you really aren’t interested in deer hunting, and could probably care less if I succeed in what is really a blip on the map, considering the complexity of life. But what I’ve experienced, I believe, is common to all people everywhere who are intent on succeeding. It is the fight against our own minds, to stay in the game, whatever that game is.

It seems to me that perhaps the greatest reason for failure is thoughts of failure. It feels unnatural, pompous, presumptuous to envision success, not once, but as a way of life. Consider professional sports. An NBA player toes up to the free throw line and watches the ball sink into the net many times before he actually looses the ball. It would be ludicrous to expect anything else.

For the past two weeks, it’s been easy to rise at 4:30 for work. I have to. The consequences of not showing up aren’t pleasant. But to voluntarily crawl out of a warm bed at 5:30 to slip into a pair of bibs and fleece and make my way into the woods. After being consistently tricked by the area’s bucks. After blowing two cake shots. After having the wildlife sightings trickle to near zero. I’ve convinced myself to abandon the woods only minutes after sunup. I’ve snoozed, and sometimes turned the clock off completely. It’s easy to imagine how unlikely it is to kill a good buck when you haven’t yet. And it’s easy to imagine how good it would feel to crawl back into bed when it’s right behind you. With your wife in it. And a soft pillow.

So in this mental battle, I’ve considered quitting. But I know that if I do, I’ll always ask, “What if? What if I didn’t quit? What if I went to the woods one more time?” In my mind, quitting would make me a quitter. And that is something I am not.
Regardless of what happens tomorrow, I know three things that I did not know last year.

1. I know the habits of the deer on this specific property.
2. I know myself better.
3. I know the rewards of success will be greater next year than they were
this year.

I guess my point is this. In life, we all have competitors, quarry, prey, whatever you want to call it. Understanding our competition is vital in rising to the top. But equally, if not more important, is our ability to identify the effect our pessimistic minds can have on the outcome. To succeed, we all must keep our minds in the game until opportunity comes.


Mommynurse said...

I'll be praying for you tomorrow--that your prey will fall to your tactics. See you this weekend bro!

Anonymous said...

I hope you nail the turd.