Preparation: Knowing where you can go starts with knowing where you are and where you’ve been. Success requires practice, study and strategy. Master each detail and consider the possibilities and probabilities.
Have you ever had the experience of being able to do something well and that others considered outstanding, difficult and beyond their capabilities? An activity in which you had done a significant amount of work beforehand which allowed you to complete and achieve it? Do you remember how good you felt? That good feeling is the consequence of preparation.
“Be Prepared” is the motto of the Boy Scouts and is a great one for each of us to adopt. To be prepared, we need to apply ourselves regularly to be fit and ready for eventualities. Preparation takes self-discipline and responsible thinking. Both are skills that can be learned and that foster Momentum.
The late president John F. Kennedy was quoted as saying:
“The time to mend the roof is when the sun is shining.” This was a great way to explain that if we don’t spend enough time when our stress level is low doing routine maintenance (preparation) work, then there is a good possibility that if something which demands our attention happens in a high stress time, we will be overwhelmed and we won’t be able to deal with it well.
In many ways, preparation is the opposite of procrastination. When we procrastinate, we put things off. When we prepare, we do things ahead of time.
I procrastinated much of my life. I took the easy route and did enjoyable things, or nothing at all, before doing routine or preparation things. Does this sound familiar? This changed one day in 1971 when I was climbing up the side of a small mountain in Afghanistan.
I had set out at dawn to ascend this 2000 foot hill. I had water, some food and my camera in a knapsack. I thought I was fit and ready. The slope was steep and rocky and the hike was more difficult than I expected. The base of the mountain was at about 6,000 feet and I had not prepared myself for the reality of climbing at that elevation. I turned out to be much less ready than I had thought.
The higher I climbed, the more often I gasped for air and needed to stop. About ¾ of the way up, I noticed some movement on an adjacent slope. It was a shepherd and a herd of goats. As I looked more closely, I saw that the shepherd was a young girl. She seemed to be prancing effortlessly along with her animals. I watched in awe as I sat on a rock, out of breath and panting. She came within 100 feet of where I was, smiled, waved and danced on up the rocky slope. I can remember her beautiful blue eyes as she glanced a last glance my way and then disappeared. I also remember thinking, “Wow is she ever fit. I’m going to be able to do that too!” In that moment, I decided to become more prepared for the different challenges in life. It hasn’t been easy and I have had my setbacks.
I’m continuing to learn and my number one teacher is my wife. With her help, I’m learning to do things like pack ahead of time, turn the soil, aerate and freshen up the soil before planting, do good research before you travel and so much more. Preparation is healthy, constructive and is a vital ingredient in Momentum. If you want to get going and keep going in your life, commit yourself to preparation.
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