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The key to lasting success? Letting go

Source | LinkedIn | Ryan Holiday | Author of The Obstacle is The Way — Portfolio/Penguin Random House

The great archery master Awa Kenzo did not focus on teaching technical mastery of the bow. He spent almost no time instructing his students on how to deliberately aim and shoot, telling them to simply draw a shot back until it “fell from you like ripe fruit.”

He preferred instead to teach his students an important mental skill: detachment. “What stands in your way,” Kenzo once told his student Eugen Herrigel, “is that you have too much willful will.” It was this willful will—the desire to be in control and to dictate the schedule and the process of everything we’re a part of—that held Herrigel back from learning, from really mastering the art he pursued.

Stillness Is the Key

What Kenzo wanted students to do was to put the thought of hitting the target out of their minds. He wanted them to detach even from the idea of an outcome. “The hits on the target,” he would say, “are only the outward proof and confirmation of your purposelessness at its highest, of your egolessness, your self-abandonment, or whatever you like to call this state.”

That state is stillness.

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