Always Wear Your Game Face – 4 Reasons Why Preparation Is The Key To Success

will smith

I’ve always considered myself to be just average talent and what I have is a ridiculous, insane, obsessiveness for practice and preparation. My father used to say all the time, ‘Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.’ So if you stay ready, you ain’t gotta get ready. That is how I run my life. ‘Just stay ready.’ Stay in shape and then you don’t have to rush to train before the movie starts. I’ll show you my abs later because I’m in shape. But that idea, if you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready. So I had this preparation, I had this performance, I’ve seen it in my mind and I know I’m going to go out there and deliver this performance that way that I want to do it. – Will Smith

There is a fundamental difference between those who succeed and those who can only dream of treading the same path.

The difference is in their mentality, their preparation; how they view themselves in relation to where they want to be. How big is that gap? How can I get to the other side as quickly as possible? Am I ready to leap across when destiny calls?

Most people can’t answer these questions because they are blind to the world around them. They lack the self-awareness to know who they really are beyond the face that stares back in the mirror. They have no idea which path to take or even how to get there – reactors in a reactive world. Waiting for something to happen and hoping they will stumble towards the right answer.

Why be like this?

Take the initiative. Ask yourself the questions before anyone else does. Choose your path before it’s chosen for you. Don’t let other people decide who you are – show them. If you pre-empt the world around you and prepare yourself accordingly, everyone else will be dancing to your tune.

How ready are you?

1. Never leave the house looking like you’ve just got out of bed

How you present yourself to the world has a huge effect on your potential for success.

We all have clothing that we set aside for special occasions. It could be a dress that you only wear on certain nights out or a suit that only sees the light of day at job interviews. Maybe it’s a t-shirt that you save for first dates because it makes your arms look bigger or a pair of shoes that seem a little too extravagant for the office.

Why would you not want to look your best?

By saving half of your wardrobe for special occasions you are subconsciously telling yourself that you’re not important enough to wear these in your ordinary day to day life.

Have you ever wondered why rich and powerful people scrub up well on a daily basis? It’s because they are marketing themselves as important people worthy of looking like that. They are walking billboards for success.

If you look like shit, you won’t be surprised to find out that people will start treating you like shit.

2. Always be prepared to meet someone important

You never know when you’ll be face to face with destiny.

Real Madrid fanatic, Abel Rodriguez, having just been turned away by a couple of uninterested security guards, chose to brave the snowy conditions and wait patiently for the next 5 hours in the off chance that he would catch a glimpse of his heroes.

The 41 year old Mexican-American from California recently withdrew his life savings and with words of encouragement from his family, made the pilgrimage to Madrid’s Valdebebas training complex in a desperate attempt to find a ticket for their upcoming El Clasico encounter with Barcelona – his lifelong dream.

Whilst shivering on the side of the road, perhaps feeling like he had made a huge mistake, something amazing happened. Real’s manager Jose Mourinho noticed Rodriguez and immediately got out of his car and wanted to know why this man was 6000 miles from home.

It turns out that Mourinho had remembered Rodriguez from the previous summer when he volunteered as a ball boy for their pre-season tour. In total shock, Rodriguez explained his situation and Mourinho not only gave him the tickets but also offered him a temporary job as a kit man for the following week’s Champions league tie against Manchester United.

Insisting that he pay his own expenses, Mourinho replied, “When you’re with me in Europe, you don’t pay for shit.”

Abel Rodriguez took a chance, and it paid off.

3. Look for any opportunity
richard branson

Everyone’s favourite bearded billionaire, Richard Branson is the kinda guy who lives and breathes opportunities. He no doubt wakes up every morning with the belief that today will be another checked box on his badass calendar.

Throughout his life he has taken advantage of situations because he has the mentality to seek these opportunities out. Nothing gets past him. If there is profit to be made, he will make it. Take the famous story of how he started Virgin Atlantic as an example;

In the early 80’s Branson was heading to the Virgin Islands as he had a ‘pretty young girl’ waiting for him. Unfortunately, the plane had maintenance issues and was cancelled, leaving Branson and numerous other passengers stranded.

Feeling that this was a ridiculous situation, he chartered a private plane to take him to his destination, which was a little foolish as he didn’t have the money immediately available. So his entrepreneurial brain kicked into overdrive and he created a board advertising seats on his plane for just $29 which he used to entice other stranded passengers.

Branson wanted a plane, he got a plane.

Branson didn’t have the money, he found the money.

Branson arrived at his destination because he was alert enough to make something happen.

Life is full of opportunities but many of us miss out because we barely know what day of the week it is.

Start paying attention and see what happens.

4. Be decisive – don’t dither

How decisive are you? Are you capable of trusting your instincts or do you hide away in the hope that someone else will make the choice on your behalf?

Any situation in which you’re caught in two minds is almost certainly a situation in which you have no control over, and it stems from a lack of preparation. The rabbit in the headlights look demonstrates a person who has no idea what they are doing, and worse, has no idea how to adapt to the environment.

At its evolutionary core, this is the fight or flight response.  It’s the adrenaline dump that hits us immediately prior to being ripped away from our comfort zone. You’re probably more familiar with this response by its common name, fear.

It paralyses those who aren’t prepared for its arrival. Kidnappers and muggers rely on this adrenaline dump to take advantage of the confusion and fear that follows their sudden appearance. It’s why you are urged to anticipate such attacks by briefly looking round at that mysterious person 20 steps behind you. If it is a potential attacker, the fact you have clocked their position is often enough to put them off because the element of surprise has been taken from their arsenal.

Why do guys panic and appear nervous when spoken to by an attractive woman? Why are you often left speechless when your boss suddenly requires your input on an important work matter? Why are many professional fighters taken out by men half their size in altercations outside of their preferred arena?

They don’t expect anything to happen, and when it does, they have no answer.

In all walks of life, preparation is the key to success. If you anticipate a situation then you’re already halfway there. It’s just common sense. If you’re walking down a dark alley in a rough part of town, you must know it’s possible to bump into an unsavoury character. If you’re out clubbing, you must know it’s possible to chat to an attractive female. If you’re at work you must know it’s possible your boss will want to talk to you.

Anticipate – evaluate – action.

If you always wear your game face – you’ll always be ready.

 

How decisive are you? Do you grasp opportunities or allow them to slip by? What’s your biggest regret and what did you learn from it?

 Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 

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About Jamie

Jamie is a guitar teacher and writer who hates the typical 9-5 existence. After quitting his job to enter the world of guitar tuition, he created this blog to document his thoughts and struggles as he takes on societies norms armed with nothing more than his cheeky wit and undeniable charm - Give his Facebook page a like, add him on Twitter or follow his Google+ page and he will repay you with even more awesome words!

Comments

  1. Deeghal Bhaumik says:

    Whoaa!! This was really a much needed wake up call. Really inspiring. Well I am not very decisive and that is my biggest regret as I passed many important things. Gotta start being ready. Thanks Jamie :)

    • Thanks, Deeghai. We all have regrets and they are usually things we passed on for some reason. Luckily, it’s quite a simple flaw to improve on.

  2. Real good article, Jamie. I used to leave the house looking like I just got out of bed. Actually, sometimes I literally just got out of bed, heh. That was back in school days.
    Jeremy recently posted..These Are A Few Of My Favourite ThingsMy Profile

  3. Thanks for the nudge to stop saving half my wardrobe. I began working from home several years ago. I have a beautiful wardrobe that half of which goes through seasons on hangers. Time to pull them out and feel great . . . even if I’m just running to the grocery store.

    You make really great points that important for every stage of life. Thanks!
    Deb recently posted..The Golden Rule – What If?My Profile

    • Hey Deb, you definitely should wear your favourite clothes, even if you’re staying at home all day. It will enhance your mood and you’ll be more productive too. Thanks for your comment!

  4. Love that Richard Branson story. I remember the first time I heard it and thought ‘why didn’t he price the tickets higher?’ !

    I’ve definitely ditched the ‘clothes for a special occasion’ theory. Why spend the money if the clothes only come out once a year? That doesn’t mean I walk around in evening dresses daily, of course ….

    For me, it’s not about being prepared for something big every day. It’s about being the best version of myself. Apart from the days when I want to bury my head in a bowl of Oreos and stay under the duvet all day ….
    Razwana recently posted..Treating marketing as a nice-to-have is for your competitionMy Profile

    • Hey, probably because he was already making money in other areas and times each ticket by a couple hundred, and you’ve got yourself enough to hire a plane.

      He needed to meet a girl – that’s all he cared about. Priorities, see. :-)

  5. In the intro, you mentioned:

    “Most people can’t answer these questions because they are blind to the world around them. They lack the self-awareness to know who they really are beyond the face that stares back in the mirror. They have no idea which path to take or even how to get there – reactors in a reactive world.”

    I’m dealing with a friend right now who has this.

    Of course this happens to most people. All they do is party and hang out and watch TV and have distractions.

    Try meditating 3 hours per day, every day. The answers or at least, your reality, will become more evident.

    I had that bothering in my mind. I wanted to write it somewhere.
    SEBASTIAN recently posted..Having Bad Genetics Is The ShitMy Profile

    • Hey Sebastian, I would love to be able to meditate for 3 hours every day. Imagine the focus needed to achieve that with total presence.

  6. Great post. I always say that I am lucky because I prepare so that when opportunity does arise, I am ready and able to take advantage of it. If you aren’t prepared, the opportunity will still present itself, but you won’t be able to take advantage of it.
    Don @ Breath of Optimism recently posted..Positive Life Quotes – April 6, 2014My Profile

    • Hey Don, preparation is the key to success. It’ no coincidence that the best in any field are people who have put the most hours into their craft and have suffered failure along the way. I believe taking advantage is the end product of many former hesitations.

  7. True, preparation is key. I think there’s a general misconception about “things just happening” when in truth there’s a ton of consistent practice and preparation in beforehand.

    I think I do most of the things you prescribe in this article. I do however somethimes leave my house looking like shit.
    Ludvig Sunström recently posted..The Minimalist’s Guide For How to Get a Six-PackMy Profile

    • Yep, as Don says, without preparation we have nothing. It’s great that so many people already understand this concept instead of the ‘I’ll wait for it to come to me’ brigade.

  8. We always have to be prepared and ready for success! To have the courage to jump on the right opportunities. Great thoughts here!

  9. Preparation is the sweet secret of success. Yet I always meet a number of opportunities and tell myself- ooops I don’t think I’m ready. Yes, I’ve let those opportunities pass but for a reason. My regret is, I did not learn from it and move faster. I am trying to catch up but I believe it’s not too late!
    Rob Leonardo recently posted..7 Handy Tips to Start Overcoming ShynessMy Profile

    • Hi Rob, I think it’s natural to let opportunities slip by, the trick is to learn from them and reduce the chances of it happening again in the future. You’re definitely right about it not being too late – it never is!

  10. Your article was just the kick in the ass I needed this morning, thanks man! I loved this one. My biggest strategy for taking advantage of opportunities when they come up is to always leave a bit of space in my schedule for when better things come along (which they always do). I find this gives me a good amount of time/psychological bandwidth to not only take these opportunities on, but see them in the first place. :-) My biggest regrets all seem to come from times when I take on too many things, and can’t see opportunities when they come a’knockin.
    Chris Bailey recently posted..The biggest mistake people make when they try to become more productiveMy Profile

    • Hey Chris, glad I could be of service! That’s an interesting way of scheduling your days. I can’t recall where I read this, but someone was recently saying how they only work until 12pm which frees up their afternoon for socialising/relaxing/doing whatever crops up in their lives. I thought that was a very interesting way to lead your life. Of course, it also means really early starts…

  11. Great post, Jamie. I agree with it all. I do my best tp play the part.

  12. There’s something fascinating about Will Smith. He’s a decent actor, but not too great, but he’s been in a lot of great things that I love. He’s probably on to something with that whole “just be ready” philosophy. Perhaps that the secret to his success.

    Anyway, I like your idea about always being prepared to meet someone important. how true is that? You never know who you could meet and you want to be prepared for those odd times when you finally do. Even when you’re on a routine trip out and about, you could meet someone. Just be prepared.
    Steve recently posted..8 Mistakes that Wreck Your ConfidenceMy Profile

    • Yeh, he strikes me as a potentially great actor but stuck in the blockbuster roles – so doesn’t really get an opportunity to stretch his limits. But, given that he is probably the highest earner in Hollywood these days, you can tell he’s where he is because he’s living proof his philosophies work.

  13. This is very inspiring and speaks volumes about how things like these can bring dramatic changes to our life.

    Being decisive – This is really integral trait of leadership

  14. Thank you Jamie! Be decisive… one thing I need to really work on!

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