For most of us the majority of what we know about duck hunting happened with a plastic zapper hooked into a Nintendo. That’s okay, this life and leadership strategy works even if you are not a hunter.
Picture a duck hunter coming home after the hunt. Someone asks, “How’d it go?”
Does your hunter answer, “Great, I got three,” or does he say “Awful, I missed 50 and only got three”?
Too many of us tend to hear the second hunter in our head. He points out all the ducks we missed, all the times we failed, all the strange comments we made in a conversation, all the flaws we have, or all the ways it didn’t work out the way we wanted.
That second hunter is our critical mind. We need that second hunter sometimes. We want to strive to get better and we want to aim for our potential. I want my surgeon and the lady that cuts my hair to listen to that second hunter when they are working on me. I don’t need either of them to be okay with missing something.
But let’s be honest. Most of the time we listen to the second hunter, our critical mind, when it doesn’t matter and it isn’t important. All he does is ruin an otherwise good day. Most of the time he is the one that is keeping us from being our best and reaching our potential.
The first hunter is our rational mind. The reality of duck hunting has never been genocide. The reality of our lives and our expectation should to be rational. We don’t need to get every duck, we don’t need to have the best comment in every meeting, we shouldn’t expect to never fail or have an off day or bad hair. It is crazy to think that everyone is going to like everything you do. It is crazy to think you aren’t going to react in a less than ideal way with you kids or spouse from time to time.
None of that stuff means you’re a bad duck hunter. None of the stuff means you’re a failure.
Be critical in situations that you need to be critical in, but realize there aren’t so many of them (unless you’re a surgeon or cut my hair).
Let yourself off the hook. Make sure your gun is loaded, aim the best you can, and take the best shot you’ve got every time you go out. Just remember you don’t have to get all the ducks to have a good hunt. Learn to live with missed ducks.