Sunday’s Wisdom #74: The Power of Precision

“There is a difference, Barry, between having powers and having precision.”
– Oliver Queen, The Flash
Season 1, Episode 8, “The Flash vs. the Arrow”

Oliver Queen, aka the Green Arrow, understands the value of things like caution and precision. He’s a normal guy, very aware of both his mortality and the weight of the burden he’s taken upon himself, so he’s learned to be both careful and thorough. When his friend, Barry, gets his superpowers on this television show, he absolutely does not understand these very-important ideas. He is not careful, and not precise. He’s overconfident, even reckless, sometimes too aggressive. Basically, he has powers, but not any real skill, and no motivation to develop such. The result? Best-case: tremendous property damage. Worst: people are put in danger and sometimes they die.

So Ollie sets a trap that shoots two arrows into Barry’s back. That’s certainly one way to drive the point(s) home. (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun! 😛 )

I doubt anyone mortal could even begin to count the number of times people have had some sort of physical edge, be it brute force, technology, whatever, and have relied on it far too much. They have “power,” and they get stupid and reckless in every situation. They lack self-discipline, self-control. They are not “precise,” and that is glaring weakness just waiting to be exploited.

You can have all the power in the world, but unless you can control it with precision, it can can easily prove useless, even self-destructive.

Understand, being “precise” is not the same thing as having “good aim,” for instance. Precision is rooted not in the body, but in the mind. At it’s most basic, it’s self-discipline.

For a comparison:

Superman is cool, so’s the Flash, Wonder Woman, etc. But I’ve always had a special fondness for the superheroes who are mostly just normal people. Batman, in particular, is my favorite. For all his skills and his gadgets, he’s nothing more than a man, and one who doesn’t use ray guns or anything at all like that. Yet he faces off against enemies with superpowers on a regular basis, faces catastrophes that the entire Justice League together would be hard-pressed to contend with, and yet he triumphs, time and again, ultimately with nothing but his wits, body, and will.

When Superman comes up against someone stronger than him, it’s a contest of who can outlast the other. When Batman does the same, he annihilates them. And I note, his most classic enemy, the Joker, is also just a man, as are many others.

He is one of the least-powered yet most powerful figures in the DC universe as a whole and comic books in general, and it’s all because of how he uses his brain.

Needless to say, he is not sloppy. He is very “precise.”

The lesson I take away from this? However powerful, or weak, we are, if we can control ourselves, keep our heads, be cautious but also quick… well, that’s when we really become formidable.

Precision is just another form of strength, but one that is often overlooked.

Which just makes it all the more useful. 🙂

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