Ikigai is a Japanese word which is a composite of iki (to live) and gai (reason) so it translates as a reason to live. It is more complicated that that but I like the application of the word as “what gets you out of bed in the morning.” Wikipedia describes it as “The word refers to having a direction or purpose in life, that which makes one’s life worthwhile, and towards which an individual takes spontaneous and willing actions giving them satisfaction and a sense of meaning to life.”
To apply this to recreational target archery is a bit too puffery if that is a word, but I had a memory that popped up as I was contemplating this. There was a young man who was in my high school at the same time as I was, Charles Johnson. He was three years behind me and although we both played the same sport, basketball, he was a tad better at it that I. He ended up in the NBA as a member of the Golden State Warriors, back in the Rick Barry era, and won a NBA Championship in his tenure. I remember talking to him on the street and he broke off the conversation with a somewhat world-weary “I gotta go to work” not “I have to go to practice, but I have to go to work.”
My first reaction after waving goodbye was to think “Boy, if I got to play professional basketball, I would hop, skip, and jump my way to practice.” In all honesty, it was late in the season and the season is a grind of one-night stands on the road and I understood how he felt
But let’s get back to archers. If you work for a living, you probably only get in a good practice on weekends. Do you wake up in the morning of a practice day feeling “Oh, I can’t wait to get to the range” or do you feel “. . . <groan> another practice day. . . .” Which attitude is more likely to result in a good day of practice and good feelings from it?
Sometimes we groan all the way to the range but when we get out into the sunshine and experience the power of our bow’s and the success of our shots, we look back and wonder why we were bemoaning “having to practice.”
I am coming to the position that our attitudes are trainable, certainly they are affected by the others around us. (Which is why our mothers bemoaned us “keeping bad company.”) So, what ways can you think of it helping your archers boost their ikigai, have them jumping out of bed, eager on major practice days?