Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure. – Confucius
What does that mean?
This saying has been paraphrased in modern times as “failing to plan is planning to fail.” Does it make sense? If you go into a situation with only your wits, and your opponent has both his wits and a plan, who do you think will win (presuming you’re not Doctor Who or a superhero of some sort)?
Preparation allows you the mental space to explore possible outcomes, and how you will deal with them. It also allows you the opportunity to look at the possibilities and put the bulk of your efforts into dealing with the most probable outcomes. Whether your “opponent” is a person (as alluded to above), or something as primal as a tornado or flood, you either prepare or you suffer (more so than if you had not prepared).
Why is preparation important?
I think the Boy Scouts got it right when they made their motto “Be Prepared.” When I was a Scout, I used to think that meant having one of everything in my backpack (two or more, if it was related to first aid). Later I came to the conclusion that being prepared was a mental condition, ready to do whatever was necessary with whatever was at hand.
That doesn’t mean wander around aimlessly waiting for things to happen to you, but having a first aid kit in your car and motorcycle. Having your cellphone charged at all times (with a spare charger at work and in the car). Having some cash with you in case the local convenience store is having problems with their computers and credit card machines.
The result of failing to plan is seen daily on shows that deal with clips sent in by viewers. Who could possibly have guessed that standing next to a kid swinging a baseball bat could possibly result in the man lying on the ground in the fetal position while his buddies laugh.
What could possibly go wrong with a kid bouncing on a trampoline? Bicycle tricks never end badly, right? And those are the ones fit to air. I imagine there are dozens of videos never sent in which show even more sever failures due to lack of preparation or planning on the part of the “star.” If you don’t believe me, check out You-Tube – they’ve got ’em all!
Where can I apply this in my life?
Preparation applies to life in general. Do you know how you will get yourself and family (and guests) out in case of a fire? What’s the evacuation route out of your neighborhood?
Do you have enough groceries to last through the aftermath of a flood, hurricane or tornado, and what about powering the refrigerator? Do you have tarps to cover damage to the roof? Plywood to cover damage to a window? Batteries for flashlights, do you have them?
If you know something is going to happen, you should be especially prepared for it. If you have an interview, what preparations will you make? Do you know how to get there? How long will it take? How about your appearance? Will you plan on getting up in time to get properly dressed and prepped for the meeting?
What about research on the company? Do you know what they do? Can you ask them a pertinent question or two about what they do, how they do it, or how present conditions might impact them over the next few years?
How about a different kind of meeting: a date? How much time have you spent learning about the other person, their likes and dislikes? Is it any wonder why it is so rare for blind dates to end well?
What if you are taking a class and have a test coming up? Are you failing to study? What is the likelihood of passing if you don’t study? I’ll ignore the case where the material is trivial and studying is not necessary. Again, preparation is a foundation for success.
What about business? If you own a company, there is a lot to prepare for. Everything from employees calling in sick or quitting, to preparation for business meetings. Even if you aren’t the owner, there is still preparation. A meeting next week? Hope you’re prepared!
How about a report that is due at the end of the day? Hope you did your homework! Sales call this afternoon? Hope you did your research on the company, so you can explain to them how what you are selling will be of use to them.
Even something as mundane as having a party at your place requires some preparation, if you want it to be a hit. Music, gotta have music, but what styles and will it be pre-mixed or do you have a friend who likes to DJ (and is fairly good at it)?
Beverages, that’s always a big deal. Even if it’s BYOB, you’re still on the hook for mixers. How many liters of soda water, bottled water, clear soda, cola and fruity beverages are needed? Munchies, can’t forget those! Chips, thin, wavy, triangular? Corn or potato based?
Or pretzels, or finger food or light weight grillables (hotdogs and chicken wings). How much preparation do your parties have? If it’s a big deal, it might even be coat & tie with a caterer and wait staff. Can’t pull that together on a Friday afternoon, can you?
There are so many different things happening, how do you keep track of them all, much less prepare for them? Stay focused, keep calm, and don’t sweat the small stuff.
From: Twitter, undocumented feed (my bad)
confirmed at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/confucius141097.html
Photo by Triple Tri