We spend much of our life trying to prepare for what we think will happen or what we hope will happen or what we want to happen in the future. We make plans. We get training. We pack. We save. We think positive thoughts. We imagine what it will be like. We plot out our action steps. We make to do lists to help us reach our goals. We get in shape. We eat right. We get enough sleep. We buy the right clothes. We try to be in the right place at the right time.
Sometimes all that planning works out. What we think or hope will happen does, and we are ready. What we dreamed would happen becomes a reality, and we are, indeed, prepared. We get the job. We land the book contract. We go on the trip. We find and purchase the house. We run the marathon. We meet the right person.
And sometimes all the preparation is for nothing–or there simply is no way to prepare. Because we simply can’t plan for what life brings our way.
I’ve often thought of that as I’ve seen the pictures of the aftermath of disasters, like forest fires, floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes. At no times has that been as clear to me as after Sandy. When that storm hit New York and New Jersey, no amount of preparation could have helped ready those people or those cities–at least not for the physical damage caused by the storm.
But could they have readied themselves in other ways?
Preparation often comes down to mindset. We do a lot of physical things to prepare for events we want in life. Yet, it’s our mindset that best prepares us for just about anything–even events we don’t want when they occur. If you choose to remain on an island during a large storm that could cause flooding, that’s a mindset. If you live in an area expected to be hit hard by a storm and you board up your windows, move all your belongings to the upper floors, take your valuables, your pets, and your family to safety, that’s a mindset. If you live in an area that constantly floods, but it’s your home and you love it, and you build a levy around your home to protect it from the o floods, that’s a mindset.
Despite all that, when disaster hits and you lose everything, I’m not sure you ever feel ready. Instead, you feel shocked, devastated and full of sorrow. You grieve. Yet, your mindset makes the difference in how you respond to the situation. Some people fall into despair. Others get angry–at God, the government, anyone they can blame. Some feel simple gratitude for surviving with their lives and for the gratitude extended to them. Others look hopefully toward rebuilding in the future. Mindset.
Prepare all you like. I do. I prepare for success. I prepare for failure. I prepare for a trip. I prepare for possible forest fires (with photos in easily moved boxes and computer data on thumb drives). I prepare for dinner. I prepare for a my upcoming trip and for a deadline approaching. But I realize that I never know what might happen. So I prepare my mind.
Develop a mindset that will get you through anything life throws your way.
Photo credit: New York NOW