…FIREARMS! Ok, so not everyone has a firearm, but just ask around the interwebz and you’ll realize quickly that when it comes to guns, training, tactics, etc… EVERYONE has an opinion!
With so many voices streaming into our consciousness these days, it’s enough to make a new shooter decide to call it quits before you even start. There is simply NO WAY you’re ever going to conform to all the DOs and DON’Ts, the NEVERs and ALWAYSs, the RIGHTs and the WRONGs.
I get it. I’ve been there myself. More to the point, I’ve seen it happen with students. When all of the “experts” in the world have conflicting opinions about everything from holsters to hygiene, it seems unlikely any new shooter will ever get things right enough to be perfect.
Ah – and there is where we can all take a deep breath. PERFECT.
I believe my epiphany about perfection came while sitting in a seminar presented by one of those opinionated experts – Massad Ayoob. (While he may reject the label of “perfect”, Massad ranks high on my list of “people I listen to”). His helpful tidbit, however, was more than an opinion (and I suppose technically less than fact). Although it had a huge impact on the way I train, teach, and frankly LIVE daily, it’s hardly an industry secret. In fact, I’ll share it with you, in all its profound simplicity:
PERFECT is the enemy of GOOD.
Let that one sink it for a moment.
The improbability that we’ll ever be perfect is enough to give anyone pause to even begin an intimidating journey. We all know any journey starts with the first step, but if you’re pretty sure that first step will lead to failure (because that’s the only alternative to perfect), there is a high likelihood you’ll plant your feet firmly in the soil of inaction.
So I’m here to tell you, before you get any farther on your journey – there’s another alternative to perfect!
The other choice - is GOOD!!
Even if your ultimate goal is PERFECT (and I get that, I really do!), GOOD is a necessary step along the way. GOOD is something we should all strive for. Even when we qualify it with ENOUGH, GOOD ENOUGH is always… well… ENOUGH!
Ok, ok, so ENOUGH of the philosophy… how does this address the opinions? –you ask. Well I’m glad you asked.
When it comes to learning anything about firearms I’ve seen too many potential GOOD shooters quit before they even start because of the overwhelming amount of convoluted, conflicting (and often blatantly incorrect) information available telling them how to be perfect shooters. I CRINGE when I hear a fellow instructor tell a new shooter why they should NEVER do something or they HAVE to like this gun or that holster. I can see the light in the new student’s eyes fading quickly as they realize they’ll never have what it takes to be the PERFECT shooter this “expert” is describing.
And it makes me very, very sad.
I want to lay some truth out here for you, and I hope you’ll take it for what it is. At the end of the day, this is my opinion. It may apply to your world, and it may not. If it does, I hope you’ll take hold and run with it. May it help you stay afoot when you start to drown in an unforgiving industry of perfection.
The truth: There are a lot of GOOD options. Guns, holsters, tactics, flashlights, trainers, blogs, magazines, knives – yup, they all come with a lot of GOOD options. They also come with some less than ideal options. There are very few options I would call worthless, and even fewer I would say are perfect.
More truth: What is perfect for me might just be good enough for you. Or frankly, it might not be good enough at all. Dear perfect “experts”: if you see me about to hurt myself, please speak up. Otherwise, please share with me the wisdom of your experience and let the rest be just what it is – your opinion.
The ultimate truth: Perfect is the enemy of good. The fear of never achieving perfection is going to keep good students from taking the first step. Myself included. We should all always be students.
Dear new shooter – keep trying. You aren’t good yet, and I’m ok with that. You don’t have equipment that works for you yet and I’m ok with that, too. Let yourself off the hook for the things that aren’t good. The truth is - they just aren’t good YET.
Take the first step. If you’re already there, pick that foot up and take the next one. It’s your life, make sure you live it.
And what to do with all those opinions? How do you process them all? Compare them all? Sort out the good from the less-than-ideal when there are OH SO MANY???
Why, the same way you eat an elephant.
Take them one bite at a time, chew slowly, and only swallow the parts that help you get GOOD.