Aim Small - Miss Small
Or- Tightening Your Shot Group
This week the Marine Corps marksmanship competition is taking place near my work. As Marines we pride ourselves on our shooting skills, so doubtlessly the top award will not be based on the number of bullseyes, but on the number of X-rings, the small circle in the middle of the bullseye.
But the holes in the paper target are what is known in the business world as lag indicators. By the time the bullet leaves the rifle, the shooter’s job is done. No amount of action, attention, or desire will change the outcome.
I have talked about lead and lag indicators before. To achieve our goals, we have to focus on the lead indicators. This is the system we put in place to ensure we accomplish the tasks necessary for success.
The lead indicators of an X-ring shot are the proper application of the fundamentals of marksmanship: Stable position, sighting, breath control, and trigger control.
If a shooter performs these four steps accurately, effectively, and consistently, the X-ring shot will be the byproduct.
But no one starts off knocking the center out of the bullseye. And you can’t begin by focusing only on one fundamental to the exclusion of others. As shooters practice, they will make incremental progress. A slightly better position leads to greater relaxation, and relaxation leads to better breath control which leads to better sight alignment and trigger control.
With each iteration, rough spots are knocked off, lessons are learned and the shot group tightens. This is really a great metaphor for any habit that you want to adopt, or any goal you want to achieve.
To hit the target of our Massive Transformative Purpose, or MTP, we need to align the front sight of our high hard goals in the rear sight of disciplined daily systems.
If you are thinking, “I can’t remember all of this shooting business!” fortunately for you Marines love acronyms. In this case -BRASS-F
Breathe - (Always good advice)
Relax- (Because Frankie sez)
Aim- (Focus on your goal)
Stop-(For just a second to make sure you are shooting at the right target, and that it is a target that needs to be shot.)
Follow through- (execute again tomorrow, and the day after that until you achieve what you set out to do).
Next week we’re talking about sight alignment and sight picture.
Read. Deep Survival by Lawrence Gonzales
I recently re-read this book. It’s that good. Gonzales works to understand why some people live and some die in survival situations.
This week’s “Write.” is a little bit different. Today I get to brag about three friends who have been honored by the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation for their writing.
Mason Rodrigue is the winner of the Robert A. Gannon award for his poetry collection Rock Eater. It’s poetry for grunts.
Kacy Tellssen has won the 2023 Eugene Sledge Award for best military memoir in the past three years for his excellent Freaks of a Feather. I have recommended this before. If you haven’t read it, now you have another reason.
My good friend Russell Worth Parker has been recognized as the winner of the 2023 General Oliver P. Smith Award for an essay titled Render Safe. Worth also has a book out that I have recommended, Always Faithful which he wrote with Tom Schueman and Zainullah Zaki. He also provides great book recommendations on Instagram as B00kwar.
Support veteran writers and read these!
Words of wisdom from those who said it best:
‘If we practice being spectacular long enough, spectacular will become our way of being.’ – Robin Sharma
‘ Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in getting up every time we do.’ – Confucius
‘Success is blocked by concentrating on it and planning for it… Success won’t come out while you’re watching.’ – Tennessee Williams
‘The best way to predict the future is to create it.’ – Peter Drucker
Thanks for reading. See you next Thursday!