Rule #54. Do it the hard way.
Usually when I’m at the archery range, I’m the only person shooting a recurve bow. Thus, I tend to field questions about why I decided to go the traditional archery route, instead of using the more technologically advanced compound bow with accoutrements such as a sight or trigger release. I’ve mentioned that I’m a sentimental historian so traditional archery resonates with me, and that my father shot a recurve years ago, so I feel something of a connection when I shoot mine.
But a few time, I’ve been told, “it’s harder to use, you know.”
I’m not an expert, and I’ve never successfully shot a compound bow, so I can’t speak to the accuracy of such a statement, however I do stand by my reaction to such statements;
“Sometimes it’s good to do things the hard way.”
Of course, this isn’t true of everything. I’m not suggesting that we eschew technological advances that have made our day to day lives easier. Instead, I’m pointing out that when we do certain things the more taxing, more difficult, more time-consuming way, we tend to get more out of it than the completion of a simple task.
It would be easier to drive places instead of riding my bike, but when I ride I’m rewarded with a different perspective, great exercise, and time spent in moving meditation.
It would be easier to microwave meals or get take-out than it is to make dinner in my cast iron skillet, however the latter rewards me with a delicious and healthy meal, as well as pride in having made it.
It would be easier to just buy things like bike stands, book shelves, bow stands, and yoga benches, but instead I opt to build them myself. They’re not expertly crafted furniture, but they’re better quality than what you’d find at a big box store, and I’m always proud of what I’ve built.
Sometimes it’s better to do things the hard way. We’re rewarded with a sense of accomplishment and pride in what we’ve done. We gain knowledge that we might otherwise not. The experience of doing something the hard way can lead to a fulfillment that we cannot find on the easy path.
That’s why I sharpen my own tools. It’s why I try new recipes. It’s why I want to build my own canoe someday. And it’s why I don’t care if shooting a recurve bow is more difficult than a modern compound.
Because sometimes it’s better to do things the hard way.
Full disclosure: the one time I’ve had a compound bow in my hand, I wasn’t able to draw the string back to the point where the weight let off, so I never even let one arrow fly. I’m in no way saying that it’s easy to use a compound bow. From my perspective, they seem complicated and difficult to use, however the reaction of fellow archers at the range has been that compounds are much easier to accurately use than a recurve. I respect all archers who are consistently drawing their bows, regardless of what equipment they’re using, and though I’ve been met with a lot of questions, it’s all been quite positive. Archery is cool everybody.
“Rules for Intrepid Living” is an ongoing weekly article that gives potential guidelines for how we can all live a more adventurous life.