"You miss all the shots you don't take," is a saying I have held with me for most of my life. And, I have doubtlessly been living true to its literal meaning. In the past, I threw myself into every opportunity given to me, some working out better than others. Luckily, for the most part, it has been fairly rewarding.

If we can learn anything from Jerry West's buzzer-beating 60-foot shot in 1970, it is that sometimes a clutch throw in the right direction might just make it. But only in the rare case where you have nothing to lose and everything to gain, with absolutely no capacity for preparation, should you take that chance. I continue to learn time and time again that there is a lot more to making shots than just 'going for it'. To test this I went out with a basketball and shot some hoops of my own.

I started with casual layups and already began missing a few throws. A layup is fairly simple to make but can be missed if shoddily done. Just like in life, you have to prepare for even the easiest of objectives. So, never take any opportunity for granted. Not to mention, in a real game of basketball, you are not the only one on the court. People are also coming at you, trying to steal the ball from your hands. In life, this translates to two things. For one, you will not have forever to make a decision, whether it be right or wrong. And, you always want to be the one in control of your situation. Secondly, you may want to consider all the options available to make the same score. Which execution will lead to the least amount of obstacles? The layup or the free throw?

If you want to make the free throw you may find that there are fewer obstacles but more precision and energy required. And, if we are looking to make a shot that will gain us the most reward, we may want to go with a half court. But when I attempted to make a few after doing my layups, I missed every single one. Every maneuver is unique, and the more difficult a move, the more focus needed to increase your yield of achievement.

Say you are in a situation where you plan to take a 'long-shot'. Maybe it's fame and glory, your dream school or job. Well, nothing is impossible when done with enough effort and planning. We see half-court shots being made by basketball players all the time. But, they practiced that throw over and over again, perfecting their implementation. The less work you put into making the hoop, the more chances you have at failure. And, at that point, you must consider whether the cost of failure is worth the shot. Luckily, there are many plays that can be done to aim for the same hoop. And many times a score can be made through a team effort. Like I mentioned earlier, you will not be the only one on the court. Yes, you will have obstacles and opponents but you will also have allies. Even if it means you aren't going to be taking the shot yourself.

Life is like a game of basketball and the best athletes practice and strategizes a game plan. Taking advantage of everything life throws at you is a great spirit to have. One should be willing to take chances and explore the uncharted. But it may not always be advantageous to just 'take every shot'. You need to first strengthen your stance and practice your spin.