Have you recently felt unprepared?
Perhaps you’ve told yourself, “I can’t apply for that job. I need more preparation. I don’t have enough experience.”
Or maybe you’ve said, “I can’t go on that trip overseas. I’ve never traveled out of the country before!”
We spend so much of our lives “preparing” ourselves. We’re preparing to get on stage in front of people and speak. We’re preparing to gain the knowledge and skills to apply for that job. We’re preparing to get married. We’re preparing to have children.
But ask yourself, could you really, no matter what you did, really prepare to have children, or get married? For some of us the best way to prepare for getting married is having a divorce. For others the best way to prepare to have a child is to physically endure the birthing process.
I’ve done it before: I walk into class with a lesson sequence that I spent hours developing—counting the minutes, orchestrating in advance each second and thoroughly planning. Then, as the class unfolds, because I’ve prepared so much I’m resistant to adapt and change.
I’ve found in those situations that the best preparation was learning how to flow gracefully and harness the wisdom to let go of my plans. Teachers can often come over-prepared, and this stifles our ability to be intuitive, creative and meet the students in the room where they are energetically.
Sometimes the best preparation is to cultivate mindfulness. Preparation ends when we instill within ourselves the love of being malleable. One of the greatest obstacles to achieving the ideal vision for our lives is the exaggerated time we spend in psyching ourselves out.
The moment never comes because we never think we are ready for it.
Preparing can sometimes become synonymous with waiting. We’re waiting for the right moment, for that perfect moment. While there is time for preparation, there is not always time for perfection. There is time to make sure that you have rehearsed what to say the day before the big interview or test. However, at some point, the preparation must end and the actual embodiment begins and instinct takes over.
We can prepare, but there is such a thing as preparing too much and also preparing in the wrong kinds of ways. If you over-prepare, you may never get to put preparation to the test. You’ll be robotic when the moment arrives. And robots are clunky, slow, and mechanical in their response.
So I urge you tomorrow to go into the world unprepared! If we over prepare, we are unable to exist in the moment as it is. Preparation can cloud the uniqueness of each individual experience.
To be prepared for everything, you have to realize that anything is possible and you must be willing to traverse the unseen and the uninhabited.
The heart of a great explorer and innovator is having the courage to enter situations unprepared because you cannot prepare for the unknown.
Go unprepared on a camping trip and discover creativity (and maybe wetness). Go unprepared on a vacation and meet locals you wouldn’t have otherwise met. Undoubtedly, you’ll find hidden gems that never made it into the travel guide. Go unprepared into a kitchen and make some dish that no one on the food network has yet created. This is how the great artists were born.
Michelangelo could have spent his whole life preparing to paint… instead, he just painted and changed the world.
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Author’s own