One last tool for your moving ahead – Preparation.

Ever wondered why some win and others don’t – whether it’s in the field of sports,entertainment, the sciences or the academia? On the face of it, the motions appear to be the same with everyone seemingly doing the same things. Take for example soccer where both sides play for 90 minutes deploying some of the most advanced strategies, even as they field some of the most expensive players in sports history (going bytransfer fees, or weekly pay) still go on to produce very different results. Among the possible factors responsible for the differences in performance, we’ll be looking closer into the concept of preparation.


(Harry E. Walker/MCT via Getty Images)

What is preparation?

According to Merriam-Webster, preparation is the activity or process of making something ready or of becoming ready for something.” This may also include the mental, physical and psychological approach to any endeavour. But then, the question presents itself; don’t all professionals prepare? Still, whether through years of study, significant hours of practice or both, it appears that there are different levels of preparation required to achieve perfection. This sometimes leads to the development of unusual disorders even as some sportsmen are known to never stop preparing.

Preparation keeps things simple – and predictable.

With innovation hubs the not-so-new-normal and management gurus espousing the values of innovative (or out-of-the-box) thinking, it does seem strange to root forpredictability. But then I will because, well, some things absolutely have to be predictable due of their nature – the consequences of being unpredictable leading only to loss. Much of the business world – the presentations, plans and meetings are an attempt to keep things as predictable as possible and rightly so. The flight plans of a mission to space must be predictable. Contracts and payment terms for goods and services must be predictable. Not many are overjoyed at surprise additions to their schedule, last minute presentations and the like. Preparation clarifies assumptions and is effective in reducing the number of unforeseen circumstances.

Preparation improves performance.

In some fields as competitive sports, a break in concentration, a distance of one – sixth of an inch or a time of 0.014 seconds is known to make the difference between winners and also-rans. Even where there are skills inborn, preparation makes weak points less so and highlights areas for improvement. As Mark Twain said;

“it ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so”.

Adequate preparation ensures that real scenarios are repeatedly simulated, removing all blind spots while producing higher levels of achievement. As the world gets used to a life of higher quality, consumers will come to expect more from service providers. What is regarded as cutting edge today will be considered minimum requirement for entry tomorrow. This surge in service delivery levels would further drive up demand for those great at their craft. So, this might be a good time critically assess current skill sets and refine in alignment with desired goals, keeping in mind the current industry standards and expectations for the future.

The top 1% in any field prepare, and heavily too.

There is the argument that in every field of endeavor, the highest levels of success are reserved for the top 1% – the “A list” actors in Hollywood, the top Formula One drivers, the best performing CEOs, their organisations and the best school systems. It is not a coincidence that heavy investments in preparation play major roles in their stories. This further ensures that they are able to go beyond what is expected when delivering value. Such levels of dedication also increase the ability to manage unforeseen circumstances as these are better handled by a prepared mind. Preparation ensures performance ahead of the curve, a readiness to deliver higher standards and fewer errors in judgement. Preparation is the way to go.

Here’s a recap of what we’ve looked at;

  1. What is preparation?
  2. Preparation keeps things simple – and predictable.
  3. Preparation improves performance.
  4. The top 1% in any field prepare, and heavily too.

The author can be reached on @ayoibaru or here

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