Beware Well Intentioned Advice

Beware Well Intentioned Advice, by Christopher Allen.

About 6 months ago, I started to learn Clay Pigeon Shooting which is a complete opposite to martial arts and no where near a dojo.  In this sport I am a complete novice, and while it is a new journey of exploration I don't enjoy making rookie mistakes.  Recently, after I went to a shooting range and took lessons with a professional instructor, I learnt the correct way to shoot, how to hold the shotgun and the etiquette and safe handling of a firearm.  He gave me lots of valuable advice but one thing he said really stuck with me, "Be careful of well-intentioned advice".  

So, on the weekend, I went to my local charity clay shoot, paid my fees and met up with the team of people I was to be going around with.  My brother-in-law is the shooting guru and also a gunsmith and I am enjoying meeting up with him at these events, its a boy's day out!  So with the expectation of doing better, we set out for the first trap and I promptly missed every clay.  Yes, it was a very windy day.  Yes, the traps were very difficult and I am still quite a novice. But my expectation was high after only 1 lesson.  Then they came, the well-intentioned advice.  Not from my Brother-In-Law, who knew better not to give anyone advice, but from the rest of the party.  Do this, do that, don't do this, don't do that, shut one eye, keep them open, squint.....

When the torture of missing every clay and the voices of "experts" finally stopped, and my obvious frustration and anger had subsided, I remembered that I would often face similar people with similar experiences in my day job.  I exhibited a similar behaviour, I thought I was better than I would be after just 1 lesson and I found myself listening not too the expert, professional instructor but to all the well-intentioned advisers.

Now, a couple of days after the event I write this post ever more committed to developing my ability in other sports, to remember to follow the path laid out by my instructor, follow his advice only and not listen to well-intentioned "amateur" advice.

Chris Allen

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