Thoughts on Zhuangzi’s View Pressure (the archery example)

“When you’re betting for tiles in an archery contest, you shoot with skill. When you’re betting for fancy belt buckles, you worry about your aim. And when you’re betting for real gold, you’re a nervous wreck. Your skill is the same in all three cases - but because one prize means more to you than another, you let outside considerations weigh on your mind. He who looks too hard at the outside gets clumsy on the inside.”

1.Two weeks ago I was so nervous about my philosophy paper that I couldn’t write anything for a long time. Then I got even more nervous because I was wasting time. This vicious cycle then turned to a point where I tried to forget about my worry like Zhuangzi said. It was actually a conscious effort to do so and then I was able to think and write smoothly for 30+ minutes. Then I took a small break and went back to the nervous stage again…

2.The few times when I did unexpectedly well on my tests are when I was not focusing on winning the competition but maybe something else that I wasn’t aware off. Maybe I was just trying to do my best.

So does “pressure” make someone perform better or worse? It is always never wrong to say “enough” pressure will make you perform better. I think the focus here is not to let certain “artificial” pressure weigh you down. To some degree, maybe one can make a conscious effort to balance the pressure that he feels.

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