August 5, 2015

How Playing Darts Changed my Perspective on Success.


The first time I ever played darts was in my ex-boyfriend’s basement, using the cheap darts that come with the board.

I won the second game, leaving my ex astounded and grumpy. He had been playing darts since he was 12.

Since I obviously had the natural skill, there wasn’t a more fitting and logical present to receive for my birthday two years ago than my very own set of darts.

I focus a lot of my energy on learning how to be a good dart player: the math, logic, strategy and actual practice of throwing a dart with precision and accuracy. I’ve played frequently with two amazing dartists—my ex and his father—which has helped me immensely. By constantly being challenged, I have to try my hardest every time in order to succeed.

The concept and psychology behind what makes a good dartist has got me thinking, however.

When I first started practicing darts, my life was lacking some key attributes. I had nothing to challenge or motivate me beyond the fear of financial distress.  I wasn’t working at the time, and I lived alone, so it was just me and the cats. There was no human voice to urge me to press on when I was in my lowest moments, which seemed to outweigh the good moments. There were no work opportunities about which to be passionate. I considered myself to be failing at life.

I wasn’t sure what it would take for me to start “hitting the board” again instead of missing it completely like I did for so many months.

Hammerhead is supposedly the best brand for darts. The tip sinks into the shaft when it hits, driving the dart deep into the board so it doesn’t fall out—something of which I’ve been culpable, considering I don’t throw very fast and hard. These are my darts of choice and, although designed to improve my game, they only work as well as I do.

It certainly helps when the situation is cultivated to be just right—there is a board on which to play, people with whom to compete, encouragement, rivalry and our own set of darts.

Do I have the tools necessary to be successful in life? I want to say yes, but where’s my motivation? I don’t have someone pushing me to do better all the time, and I have very little accountability.

I think sometimes we just have to stand up and throw that first dart, hoping it sticks.

I can theoretically be the darndest dartist there is if all the circumstances are perfect, but if I never actually throw the darts, then it’s all in my head. And sometimes, I throw darts that completely miss the board, bounce off the metal bits and come crashing mercilessly to the ground, making me cringe every time.

Even in those moments, when failure is ringing in my ears, I know that had I not even tried, I would never know whether or not I hit the mark.

Sometimes, we throw and we miss. Sometimes, we don’t.

But the only way to ensure that we miss less is to try more.

What’s the first step? Try and keep trying.

Even if we keep missing, something’s gotta stick eventually.


Author: Amanda Volponi

Assistant Editor: Nicole Cameron

Image: MikeBehnken/Flickr

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