Viewing problems through a sniper’s scope

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of offering a prayer at the International Sniper Competition Awards Banquet. The room was full of the greatest shooters on the planet! Countries from all over the world sent teams to compete in this prestigious competition.  Skilled shooters from more than a dozen countries competed against the best shooters in the United States government (from across the US military and other US government agencies) for the prestige of being considered the best sniper on earth.

From almost every corner of the globe, marksmen who can make the long shot tried their skills against one another.  Of course, most of this competition was built around the ability to put a round on a target from a long distance. However, you may not be aware, that a lot of this competition was built around the ability to use a scope and to distinguish targets. In other words, the top teams were skilled with the trigger and the scope.

The scope can make you long-sighted

I think there are some valuable lessons that most of us could learn from these incredible sniper teams. However, those lessons become most powerful when we’re going through some of the biggest problems in life. Most people tend to look at our problems like a sniper viewing a target through a spotter scope. Viewing your problems with the intensity of a spotter’s scope is natural but can cause you to miss some important factors right in front of your face.

There’s a medical condition that affects billions of people all over the planet called Hyperopia or Long-sightedness.  This condition is caused by an incorrectly shaped eye lens.  People with this condition can see clearly objects at a distance but are unable to focus their vision on objects close to them. You know this condition as farsightedness.[1]

Shifting your focus

Ann Nickell was a recent guest on the Unbeatable podcast.  She knows nothing about the military, nothing about marksmanship, and nothing about the skills of a sniper but, this woman passed on a powerful lesson that she learned while going through intense physical and emotional difficulties. She learned how to focus her gaze on the good things right in front of her despite the long, difficult problems she was facing.

I’m guilty of looking at my problems like a sniper looking at the long shot. During my interview with Ann, I couldn’t help but think of the times, I’ve been so overwhelmed by my problems that I took my eyes off the good things right in front of me. My hyperopia caused me to focus so intently on my challenges that I forget all about some of the blessings in my life.

Keep one eye on your surroundings

If human nature causes you to focus intently on the problems in your life and to put all of your energy into the things that are causing you pain, how do you view the good things right in front of you while simultaneously looking at the long view? This is the skill that Ann Nickell developed. This skill helps snipers see the long target and what’s immediately in front of them.  This skill can help you view your own life as more than just your current difficulties.

The greatest snipers have developed an intuitive skill for this problem. They have learned to keep one eye on the scope down the target looking at the long shot, while the other eye is aware of what’s happening in their immediate vicinity. I challenge you to look at your problems like these great snipers look at their target and their surroundings. Don’t become long-sighted.  Carefully focus your attention on your problem while also recognizing the blessings in your life at the same time! 

Listen to my whole interview with Ann HERE


[1] https://medlineplus.gov/ency/imagepages/19511.htm

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