by Darrin Schenck

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by Darrin Schenck

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This is such a true statement, as most things that you wish to bend the outcome in your favor take planning and preparation in advance.  Whether it is studying for an exam, a job interview, or a sporting event, the pre-work is where that event can be won or lost.

Of course there are a ton of other factors to deal with in a sporting event, like weather conditions, opponents and such, but none of this is going to matter if you are not properly prepared yourself.  You have to make it a given that YOU are ready to rock and roll, and then you only have the external factors to deal with, those that are controllable to a degree anyway.  The last thing you want is to show up for a competition underprepared, and have that as an additional circumstance to deal with.  For example, if you have let your fitness level slide, you now know that fatigue can become a factor in your performance.  Getting tired will have you lagging behind, cause your form to break down, possibly have you make less than optimal decisions in the heat of battle.  None of this is going to help you achieve your goal.

If you didn’t study for an exam, you know that you are going to sit down and take a look at the material and as soon as you hit a question or a section that is unfamiliar territory, you are going to panic.  Your brain is now racing, highly concerned about the possible outcomes, none of which are good.  Instead of focusing your brain power on solving the problems or answering questions, it is now running in multiple directions.  This is a recipe for disaster, of course.  You knew that going in, but you made a conscious choice to not do your prep work, and now you are paying the price.  As the saying goes:

Failure to commit it the High Cost of Low Living

You knew that test was on the syllabus, it didn’t catch you by surprise.  You chose to not take the proper action to get ready, and now you are underprepared for the task at hand.  You need to take responsibility for this; no one can make you prepare.  Only you can get yourself to do something.  You can play video games or you can study, you can blow off preparations and go to that concert instead.  The choice is always yours, but so are the outcomes.  You CHOOSE your outcomes to a large degree based on your commitment (or lack there of) to an upcoming task.  The same would apply to getting ready for a job interview; it was in your schedule and you were hoping to leave the job you currently have behind.  You are making the move for a reason, whether it be more money, better hours, whatever.  But if you didn’t do some prep work such as studying up on the company itself, learning details like when they were founded, why they choose their charity of choice, what the job responsibilities are, you are setting yourself up for failure.  There are videos to watch about interview prep, there are reference websites like glassdoor.com and others that have that you should be looking over and taking notes on.

If you are not taking responsibility now, in advance, to prepare, you are not going to get the outcome you wish.  Even if you have made it to a certain level in life coasting through without much effort, you are going to hit the “ceiling” of that practice before long.  This is a talent that is both a blessing and a curse.  Maybe you skated through high school without much effort, but that won’t cut it at the college level or out in the real world.  There are too many details to manage, too much knowledge to be responsible for, and there are way too many other people who are going to be ready to snatch this opportunity from you.  THEY will do the work you are not willing to do, and then you are stuck in your current job with no prospects of getting out.  You have no one but yourself to blame when this happens.  Preparation doesn’t guarantee outcomes, but LACK OF preparation certainly does.

Personal accountability is a key to a happy life.  Once you quit blaming the world for your own problems, you will be on your way to a better existence.  You need to do the work ahead of time to capitalize on a chance you are given.  Every once in a while there is a story that makes the headlines that illustrates this perfectly.  The starting quarterback goes down with an injury and the back up QB comes in and takes over the offense and leads the team to victory.  A UFC fighter misses weight or has a medical issue and someone jumps in on short notice to fill that spot.  This person goes on to win, and this gives them the shot at another fight and then another, jump starting their career and maybe even a title run.  The precursor to this was the prep work being done.  You never know when a cubic centimeter of chance will present itself; it is your responsibility to be prepared and grab it as soon as it shows itself.

Hopefully it only takes one missed opportunity to get your attention.  If you are smart, you can only make this mistake once. Learn from it, and then ensure it never happens again, you are on the right track.  No one is perfect, and there will be times when you think you have done enough only to find it was half of what you needed.  But by and large, if you can have the outlook that you need to do work, in advance, then you are setting yourself up for a win.  No guarantees, of course.  But if you don’t do the work ahead of time you ARE guaranteeing something, you’re cubic centimeter of chance will slip right though your fingers.

Stay ready so you don’t have to get ready

Commit to the preparation needed for success in all walks of life, be it a job, school or activity.  If you want to be good, you need to do work.  If you want to be great, you need to do more work than almost everyone.  If you want to be the best of the best, you need to outwork and outplay everyone all the time.  It is totally up to you where you land in life, but I can tell you this for certain, if you don’t do the work, you will get what you deserve.  The key to victory lies in the preparation you do in advance.

Choose wisely, and I wish you luck in your  endeavors.

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