In this third article of the series on the necessity of preparations attention is drawn to some of the tips on how to prepare oneself for the many different opportunities that come one’s way. It is one thing to know that preparations are essential and why but quite another thing to take concrete steps to prepare and stay prepared. The second article on why it is necessary to prepare for all of life noted the following points:
Why is being prepared so important in life? Someone has clearly and rightly said that if we fail to prepare we prepare to fail! The fact of the matter is that preparation is one of the key requirements for succeeding in life in general and in most endeavors. Preparation helps one make use of the many opportunities and challenges that one encounters. It ensures success or at least the satisfaction of having done one’s best. Success should not always be the measure of one’s worth but rather giving one’s best in terms of preparation and doing one’s best in the face of a particular challenge or opportunity. If one does his/her part well and yet fails then, from a Christian perspective, God has something better in store. One must always prepare for the important things in life in order to take advantage of opportunities when they come and to experience the pleasure of having done one’s best in executing significant tasks.
Preparations of most kind involve three essentials: knowledge, skills and experience. To be prepared for any tasks or situations is to have the knowledge required to perform the task at hand or to face the situation confronting one or the expecting task or situation. Knowledge can be gained in one of three major ways. One basic way is through apprenticeship which is learning practically by observing and doing after one who is skillful and experienced at a particular trade such carpentry, law, accounting (in the old days), masonry, mechanics, and sewing. In ancient time this was the main way of learning a trade.
Another way of gaining knowledge is through formal education through classroom situations. The primary method used in formal education is theoretical. This means learning the theories of how certain things function and operate. In this way the learner reads and seeks to understand the principles and theories behind the branches of knowledge.
Still another way is acquiring skills. Skills come from the application of principles and theories. To have skills is to have gained some experience in the use of theories and principles to solve problems in achieving some goals. A few people in our world teach themselves through extensive readings and use the knowledge gained to better themselves. Whatever form of learning one uses knowledge is needed for success in a wider range of areas in life. Experience comes with time in applying knowledge and skills.
In addition to knowledge, skills and experience, adequate preparations require two essential elements. These elements are discipline and persistence. The word discipline has a number of meanings in different contexts. We will be using the word discipline in a more general sense of controlling and directing one’s mind, heart and body in a way that leads to self-control, obedience to what is right, just and fair in the sight of God and man. It is the training of the whole person in the attainment of positive results in life’s main goals.
Discipline then in this context is a key requirement for a successful life. It is a must for a religious life, for the moral life, for the attainment of the academic life, for a decent home life, for a successful working life, and for a prosperous economic life. Success in most fields of human endeavors requires discipline of some sort.
Persistence is the ability to hold on, keep pressing on, and doing all one can till the expected result is obtained. According to the Encarta dictionaries, persistence is “the quality of continuing steadily despite problems and difficulties”. Without persistence many of us would experience failures most of the time. We all meet or face many odds or challenges in our varied facets of life in the pursuance of big and small goals and objectives in life. Discipline and persistence derive from being focused on worthwhile goals and objectives in life. To prepare well is to pursue knowledge, skills and experience coupled with the virtues of discipline and perseverance.