20 January 2013

Knowing How to Bend a Bronze Bow

Knowledge is powerless without the power to take action on it.

Once there was a famous worrier. He was a great archer, and his natural gift had brought him riches and much acclaim across all the lands. Rumor was that he could strike down a goat from a thousand paces. There was nothing that he had ever hunted that he did not eventually prevail over. His skill was one of rumor and renown. One day, he was hunting a very elusive prey in the mountains, but could never get closer than fifteen hundred passes from the creature before it would see him and escape, knowing that he could not shoot an arrow that far. Extremely disheartened that there was a limit to his skill, he got the idea of making a stronger bow that could shoot an arrow that far. He took a large sum of his money to a local bronze-smith and told him to make him a perfect bow from bronze that could fire as far as two-thousand paces. After weeks of hard work the smith had the bow ready and a glimmering spectacle of skill and labor on the part of the smith.

The great archer came and at once took the bow to the mountain to claim the victory over the creature he so wished to defeat. From nearly sixteen hundred paces, he saw the creature standing in plain view. Thinking to himself that he had at last won, he placed an arrow on the bow-string and began to draw back the bow. But as he went to try, he was faced by the unwelcome fact that he was not strong enough to draw the bow. He was angry and shouted in frustration as he tried over and over to draw back the bow. The creature took notice of him and approached him rather daringly. “You knew what it would take to defeat me, but you did not have the strength to of mind to succeed.”

The moral of the story is that knowing what to do, having knowledge, is only one side of the coin. The other is having the discipline—strength of mind—to take action and to keep taking action to complete what should be done. The archer could have gone about strengthening his arm so he could have drawn the bow. He should have worked hard and practiced and prepared. But, he trusted his natural skill and was not willing to put in the effort to discipline himself to the point of drawing the bow.
It takes discipline to and knowledge. Knowledge without discipline is not power. 

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