You Can’t Hit What You Don’t Aim At

By | November 22, 2019

[November 22, 2019]  There is an ancient question that continues to haunt humans.  That question is, “What should we aim at in life?1  Many philosophers have dedicated their lives to answering the question, and a mountain of sage advice has been forthcoming.  I guess that we will continue exploring answers.  But here is one thing I do know, you can’t hit what you don’t aim at.

Humans have a proclivity to better themselves and their families.  That is a good thing too.  If we recognize that we would like to move from Point A (where we are now) to Point B (to a better point later), we can take particular actions to make that destination a better point.  Those actions, as I’ve written about earlier, require some level of sacrifice of what we value.

“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” – Zig Ziglar, American motivational speaker

If we are to make improvements in our lives or to give our lives meaning, then the place to start is locally.  We begin with our selves because, by making us better, we will not be an unnecessary strain on others.  Professor Jordan Peterson comments that we “should straighten ourselves out and do so humbly.”2

Why, then, do we say that the place to begin this journey is with our selves?  Well, I think the answer is not easy, but it is simple once we realize that within us is both good and evil.  To win the battle over our evil will be the most important battle we will ever fight.  Many individuals will lose that battle.  We can only hope they do not come across the resources to carry out their malevolence on others.

Just look at the 20th Century, and the horrors brought on by Fascism and Communism.  More than100 million died as a result.  This detail is no small fact.  Evil can, however, manifest itself in other ways that it is not only difficult to recognize, but when we do recognize it, it is also difficult to untie ourselves from its influence.

Our first aim in life should be to get our act together.  If we can manage it and do a good job, then we can maybe branch out and help make our family better.  Most of us, after much struggle, can do this, but few rarely get beyond that point.  A small number will and afford some success in helping make our community or nation a better place.

To answer the question, what should we be aiming at in life, must be to improve upon our selves.  And, no, I’m no philosopher like some seem to think.  To be a good person does, nonetheless, mean we must make our person a better person.


  1. Or, put another way, “What gives life meaning?
  2. See YouTube video at about the 3:30 mark –
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

21 thoughts on “You Can’t Hit What You Don’t Aim At

  1. KenFBrown

    Your advice is simple, get your act together! And do it quickly. That’s what my parents taught me and I hope I’ve managed it well. For those who want a hand out all the time, get a life and do something responsible for yourself.

    1. Mark Evans

      Yes, simple ….. tell the truth, pick-up responsibility for yourself, improve everyday. Those are what you can do to AIM AT SOMETHING good.

  2. old warrior

    General Satterfield, great article. I’m glad I found your leadership website.

  3. Sadako Red

    Okay folks, let’s just pound this nail in a little better. I’ll write of it from the perspective of racism. First, racism in the West has devolved into name calling and a few other minor areas. Second, racism exists because people do not know where they are going or why. They are drifting intellectually and emotionally. That makes them susceptible to certain racist thoughts and to good-sounding ideologies. Third, our leadership at the senior political levels in the West are spending too much time on unimportant projects and ignoring the big gorillas in the room (like economic deficits).

    1. Scotty Bush

      Sadako Red, great to see you back on this blog. I love your articles so please write more. My daughter is a huge fan of yours since I printed off your past works and gave them to her.

    2. Otto Z. Zuckermann

      Thank you SR for your educated, experienced comment. I agree with the others that regularly come to this leadership blog run by Gen. Satterfield that we would like to read more of your writings.

  4. Lynn Pitts

    “Just look at the 20th Century, and the horrors brought on by Fascism and Communism. More than 100 million died as a result. This detail is no small fact.”
    Super comment. Why would anyone knowingly adopt an ideology that resulted in 10x of millions of deaths and still contributes to the enslavery of mankind?

    1. JT Patterson

      Another great question that deserves to be answered by those who believe in those ideologies. Even socialism which is the sister ideology of these two should be explained in terms of how people who believed it were blinded by these deaths.

  5. Kenny Foster

    See, I’ve said this before in the comment section. We must have some endpoint (aim point) for what we want out of life. So many people are simply lost because they live day to day without any concept of why or what they are doing to make themselves or their families better. They just exist. I would hate to be them.

      1. Dale Paul Fox

        That is, Eric, the existential question of the ages. Why do we exist? Why do we do what we do? These are the basic questions to which philosophers have attempted to answer since the beginning of mankind.

      2. Valkerie

        To the heart of the issue. Thanks Eric. I enjoy reading these comments in this leadership blog. I’m glad General Satterfield has put it together for us – for our education and for our entertainment.

  6. Harry Donner

    Gen. Satterfield, another excellent article. Thanks!

  7. Eva Easterbrook

    You would think this is commonsense. But no! We humans have to be reminded sometimes of the most obvious.

    1. Yusaf from Texas

      Eva, you have summed up the theme of today’s article succinctly. I don’t believe that it is a matter of reminding folks but of educating them on HOW to make this happen. We need, as leaders, to give them examples and to walk them thru the effort to create what they want in life. Once we teach them how, later when they make a change, they can do it because they understand the process.

  8. Army Captain

    This is what I tell my soldiers. I mean it, of course, literally and figuratively. But from life’s perspective, you had better have a goal and have listed a few tasks that support that goal. Then work toward it. You will succeed.

    1. Tracey Brockman

      I think most folks know this (we must have an aimpoint). Perhaps I’m wrong but I don’t think so. If any of us want something, then we know we have to work to get it. “Work” may be a job, or convincing someone to give it to us, or some other act. But we must do something that targets the aimpoint and DO SOMETHING about it.

    2. The Kid 1945

      Thanks Army Captain. Keep up the great work you are doing with our soldiers!

      1. Greg Heyman

        That’s what I always say. We are blessed that Army Capt is on Gen Satterfield’s blog. I like it when he confirms the theme of the daily article and gives us some of his experiences. Well done!

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