Preparation Precedes Prosperity
Anyone who ever went to school, especially those schools with some high level of discipline must recall the famous PREP-time. It was a time when everyone would be quietly sitting at their desk in class reading for the next day’s exams, or finishing some homework before going home or back to the dorms, or just reading ahead of the teacher (for those we used to call “chopists” i.e. people who loved studying even when there were no exams.)
I have to admit that for all those years I had never thought about what the word PREP means until this last week when my spiritual father mentioned it as he was sharing the word of God in church. It actually hit me that PREP is short for PREPARATION, so being the “creative” (read lazy) people humans sometimes are, instead of using the whole word some clever (lazy) person decided to shorten it and say PREP.
So what is PREP Time?
PREPARATION TIME; the time you prepare yourself mentally for the next day’s classes by reading ahead of the teacher, or revising the topics you had already covered if you are expecting CATS (continuous assessment tests) or actual examinations soon. I know not all of you are like me who hadn’t connected the dots where PREP is concerned, but this was such an eye-opening revelation for me that I chose to write about it in today’s article.
The word preparation is derived from the word prepare which means making something ready for use, or creating something in advance, or something that is planned before hand. So preparation is what you do when getting ready for another “something”.
For instance, for this article to be printed on the Guardian today, I had to prepare it in a separate word document which I then sent to the editorial team at the Guardian for them to further prepare it in alignment with their already prepared template before the printing file was sent to the already prepared printing press which then printed. From the printing press the newspapers were prepared in readiness for distribution across the country and the exercise having been successfully completed, today you have this newspaper in your hand. The newspaper did not just happen, a lot of preparation and work was put in by various people until the final product was realized.
Everything we do in life needs proper preparation before we do it and before we achieve it.
For instance, you (I don’t mean you) would be crazy to wake up in the morning and say you are wedding today when you don’t even have a fiancé(e) yet. Ok, assuming you are nuts enough to pick someone from the streets who is equally nuts like you to say yes, you would still need to have done some prior arrangements such as where the "wedding" will happen, who the officiating official will be, food, drinks, etc. And even if you decide it will be a “mkeka” kind of wedding, you still need to buy the “mkeka” (I think), and that would be counted as preparation.
Now let's bring this closer to home....
At the beginning of this year, (seems like it was 6 months ago but it has only been 14 days), many of us put down some goals to be achieved by the end of this year. Some might have had goals such as buying a new car, starting a new business, pushing for a promotion, getting married, getting out of a (TERRIBLE) marriage, getting a baby, losing weight, going for further studies, starting a new (Magical) relationship, reading 52 books in 52 weeks like I am doing, etc. I know there are many goals but I just picked some of the common things that came to my mind but I know we can create a list as long as from here to Dodoma.
It is true you did very well to come up with those goals, but my question is, what have you done in order to make sure you bring them to fruition? Are you prepared to achieve them?
Let me use my goal as an example to explain what I mean. I knew I needed at least 52 books for this year if I am to achieve my goal of reading 52 books in 52 weeks. As you might be aware, books are not cheap, meaning this is a serious investment I am making. In order to cushion myself and every other reader out there who has joined the #52BooksIn52Weeks2018 challenge, I went and talked to House Of Wisdom on Samora Avenue, NHC House, Mezzanine Floor about partnering with me in this challenge. How? For every book bought by any participant of this challenge, they would give a 10% discount (except fora few titles). If a participant buys more than ten books at a go, there is a further incentive given by House Of Wisdom. This arrangement was made towards the end of last year, well before this challenge begun. I PREPARED my source before I started.
The second thing I did was to create a time-table that would help me meet my goal. I had to reorganize my schedule so that I can have ample time to read books this year. I spend a minimum of one hour reading every day and by so doing, it has made it possible for me to keep up with my target of one book per week. Yesterday I finished my second book and I immediately started my third book because I still had time remaining from my allocated one hour. So as week three starts today, I am already on my third book and from the look of things, it is very possible that I will read two books this week. Why? Prior PREPARATION, added to focused action.
Just so you know, I have chosen to give this book reading example intentionally because some people were asking me where I get time to read while at the same time doing everything else I do. The truth is, I had to create time for this program because I know it will have a huge impact to my mental preparation for the things I have planned for 2018. To create this time, I cut out some activities from my life, minimized the amount of time I spend on my phone and found ways to optimize my passive time. For instance, when I go to the toilet at home I go there with a book; when I go for a meeting and I am asked to wait at the reception I don’t just look around at the walls, or at how pretty the receptionist is. NO! I read a book. Sometimes I actually choose not to drive my car and instead take public means in order to create time for me to read so that as the driver is driving, I am reading. I do this when I see the risk of not completing a book on time. This program requires dedication. I tried it in December so I know exactly what I am talking about. It is all about being dedicated to a course or cause.
I know many of us were in church as we were crossing over from 2017 into 2018, and as servants of God were making declarations many were shouting and screaming at the top of their voices, “I receive!”. I did too. It is good to receive blessings from God but once you receive them, what next? Angel Gabriel will not fly down from heaven with a golden basket full of your blessings written your name on it. No. You will actually have to fly up yourself and get the blessings yourself by preparing and working hard to earn them. In case you don't know, You don’t (always) get what you deserve; you get what you work for. Always remember that.
So, let me ask you a question, when you look at the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year, do you think you are prepared enough for you to achieve them? Have you set the stage for you to realize them? If you are seeking a promotion for instance, what have you done extra that will convince your bosses that you truly deserve a promotion and a raise as well? What value have you added to yourself since the last time you were in school? Some of you haven’t even touched a book since you left university fifteen years ago, yet you want a promotion, how now? Unless of course it is a sexually transmitted promotion or a relational promotion by virtue of being related to the boss, but not a promotion by merit.
Friends, in order to get what you want in life, you have to work hard for it. You have to go to the trouble of preparing for it so that when the time comes, you will be ready for it. In the words of George S. Clason, the author of my recommended read for next week called The Richest Man In Babylon, he says, “opportunity is a haughty goddess who wastes no time with those who are unprepared”. When you are ready, when you are prepared, then you can rest assured that success is just a step away.
In conclusion I’ll say this; genuine promotion (in any area of your life) is preceded by major preparation. Question is, are you prepared for your promotion this year? If you are still doing things the same way you were doing them last year and you expect to go to the next level of your life, my friend stop dreaming. Wake up and smell the coffee. It’s not going to happen. You need to get your act together and start doing things that will get you to where you want to be by 31st December 2018. Get prepared!
Like my favorite motivational speaker Les Brown says, “It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not to be prepared”.
One of the ways of preparing yourself is by seeking knowledge. Books are a major source of knowledge hence my starting the #52BooksIn52Weeks2018 challenge. Join this challenge and prepare yourself mentally by acquiring more knowledge especially in areas that you need it.
This week’s read is a book that targets personal financial management. The book is called “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George S. Clason. The lessons you will learn from this book will transform how you spend your money forever. I read it because I have purposed to get a grip of my finances this year, an area I haven’t been doing too well in the past. Get your copy from House Of Wisdom and get a 10% discount.
Be Ignited. Be Inspired. Be Influenced. Become the best version of yourself you can ever be.
PS: This article was originally published in Tanzania's Guardian On Sunday on the 14th of January, 2018, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words".