Ingredients For a Successful Year: The Preparation Question

The most prepared person usually wins – James Clear.

Preparation and Productivity 

In any area of life, preparation plays a key role in productivity. Nothing worthwhile ever materializes without preparation. It was Alexander Graham Bell who said, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” Are you preparing for the future opportunities that are going to come? Trust me, they always do. Most wish for the opportunities others have but do nothing in the present to prepare to make use of the opportunity if it comes their way. Those who prepare in the present seize the opportunity to do something meaningful in the future. I don’t believe in luck, but I do believe in preparation. It is essential, not optional. 

Pain in Preparation

But let’s face this fact. Preparation is not always fun; there is pain in preparation. It can seem fruitless. I can attest to the arduous task of preparing content for a blog post, often accompanied by frustration and discouragement. I have deleted entire paragraphs for lack of confidence in what I am trying to express. This unspectacular aspect of preparation makes many give up, not seeing that a spectacular accomplishment awaits if they push past the frustration. Preparation is and always will be the beginning stage of anything productive.

Where Does Preparation Begin?

Dr. John C. Maxwell states, “preparation does not begin with what you do. It begins with what you believe. If you believe your success tomorrow depends on what you do today, then you will treat today differently.” How do you treat today? Do you see it as a waste of time as you await your next opportunity? Or, are you utilizing your today in light of the possibilities tomorrow may bring? Those who live by the latter sharpen their ability to see and reach for opportunities once they come. 

Consider the following questions to test how much you value today in terms of preparation:

  1. Do you see today as a bridge to your future? How you see today plays a role in applying yourself to anything you do. Most people who see a connection between what they do today and the results they reap tomorrow are more intentional about using their time productively. They are decisive about their actions and never lose sight of this one fact; tomorrow is coming. Viewing today as a bridge rather than a barrier towards your future plants a resolve in you never waste a day.
  1. What did you do today to invest in your future? The wealth that awaits in the future is unearthed by those who invest their resources of time, talent, and treasure wisely today. Without this shift in thinking, we are relegated to being reactive instead of proactive. 
  1. Are you proactive or reactive? Proactive people accelerate their progress toward a desirable future because they take positive action as soon as they can, and for as long as they can. They don’t wait for inspiration to strike first, they strike until the inspiration comes. They are not only thinkers and doers, but they remain flexible and ready to adapt as long as it does not violate their values.

What you believe about today and its value regarding preparation is reflected in your daily actions. Preparation not only paves the way to opportunities but also positions us to grow while on the path to the opportunity. Without preparation, growth is never achieved. Preparation creates an environment for continuous development. Ultimately excellence in anything comes on the heels of diligence in preparation. Preparation builds in us ingredients such as courage, humility, sacrifice, integrity, resilience, and confidence that sustain a successful life. 

Final Thought: Over the years, I have learned it is better to live life by preparation than “winging it.” Preparation is a mental sharpener. It teaches your mind to stay alert and aware of opportunities that come your way and seize them. Choosing to live by “winging it” only guarantees another frustrating and disappointing year. Through preparation, you hone your gifts and talents and unleash your potential in a manner that makes you too good to be ignored. Remember, friend, a better tomorrow begins with your preparation today. 

Keep on Keeping on!


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