Just recently, I told a little Chinese story that I heard. There was an archer who came to town, and he was an incredible marksman. He was showing off—shooting one arrow after another, right on target. A man standing in the back of the crowd, instead of cheering him, kept saying, “Ah, it’s just a matter of practice, just a matter of practice.”
The archer thought a lot of himself and did not like this comment. He was expecting praise. So he went over to the man and said, “What do you mean, ‘It’s just a matter of practice’? Can you do what I can do?”
The man said, “No, but let me show you something.” He used to sell oil, so he grabbed a bottle that had a very narrow tube at the opening and a large bowl at the bottom, took a big container of oil, and poured it through the little opening into the bottle, not spilling a drop. Then he looked at the archer and said, “Can you do that?”
The archer realized that, no, he hadn’t had any practice doing that. So the man said, “I can’t shoot arrows like you, but you can’t pour oil like me. It’s all a matter of practice.”
The point of the story is: What do you practice? Whatever you practice, you’ll get good at.
- Prem Rawat