It’s been said that success is where preparation meets opportunity.
Operating from the assumption that something wonderful is going to happen to you very soon (might as well assume the best ;-)), you better start preparing for it! What might this be? Who knows. But the more you prepare for it, the more you will attract it into your life. “Act as if,” as good ole Bill Shakespeare used to say.
For much of my schooling career I’d prepare for the worst. For example, in an American Literature class, I found myself too preoccupied with partying to actually do the reading. I also didn’t like reading much at the same time, so the motivation was scarce. To prepare for each class, I’d skim the SparkNotes, extracting the bare bones of the central events of the reading.
One day in class, no one knew the answer to a question the teacher posed, and I had remembered reading about it in SparkNotes, so I raised my hand and recounted a tale of Frederick Douglas’s when he wrestled his slave owner and, as a result, was never whipped again. Of course, not critically examining the meaning behind the events of the story, I had nothing else to say. The teacher asked me to go on with my thoughts on the event, but I had none. I sat silently, nothing to say – no thoughts, aside from anxiety. The teacher went on, “Well thanks for sharing, but that’s also something anyone could get from even glancing at SparkNotes.” He was on to me.
In preparing for the worst, the situation turned out possibly even worse than if I hadn’t even spoken up at all. In my lackluster preparation, I created a lackluster situation. By only looking at the SparkNotes, I in no way empowered myself to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the material.
Looking back, my best play after minimally participating might have been to openly admit that I had looked at the SparkNotes, and that it didn’t add any benefit to my understanding of the story, so perhaps I should read the book next time. Honesty is the best policy.
If magically placed in that situation again, the evening before preparing for the class, I’d become absolutely clear on the result that I was seeking, and then prepare in such a way that the result would nearly become inevitable. If I wanted to demonstrate keen insight and perhaps a bit of wit, I’d read and think about the material until I grasped it completely.
Regardless of how we prepare for any event, our experience of the event directly reflects our preparation for it. In the classroom example, I was not enthused or joyous in my preparation, but instead felt it a bare necessity. Just so, in my experience, I felt that I barely made it out of that classroom alive, and with a much depreciated sense of self. The teacher may have lost some respect for me too, as I did not show respect for him in my preparation.
Whatever you put in, that’s what you’ll get out. This is the law of sowing and reaping. If you expect the best and prepare for the best, then when the time comes, you will receive the very best. Being clear on the outcome you desire is fundamental to having it.