We all know the famous Benjamin Franklin quote ‘Failing to prepare is preparing to fail’. Given the ubiquitous nature of this quote, one would expect a lot of published literature about Preparation. Yet the only preparation articles / books available are for test prep exams or for job interviews (there are documents on culinary and agricultural bed preparation, but the word takes a different meaning there).
Would be great if someone could point me to a treatise or an authoritative work on this subject. The only area which talks about preparation as a science is Sports.
While I have been reading about the minds of top athletes, here is my take on why most people fail to prepare and what one can do about it.
There are 3 stages to preparation. Objective, Method, and Visualisation.
Setting the correct Objective can be the difference between success and failure. However, more often than not, it is the failure to set an objective that takes sinks the boat. While preparing for an exam it is important to know whether the objective is to top it, secure a 90 % score, or just pass. Failure to clearly define this objective will result in sub standard preparation and in turn a mismatch between expectation and reality.
Next comes the Method. This is a combination of How and How Much and what many would call the actual preparation. Bench marking, Analyzing past trends, Finding a mentor or hiring an expert, scenario planning, reading, taking an online course, MBWA (Management by Wandering Around) and countless other techniques can be used. Is there a one size fits all? Probably not. But there are a few universal truths that everyone can use. We perform on what is measured and how frequently. Practice makes a (wo)man perfect. There is no substitute for hard work. But Hard work and smart work can sometimes mean two different things. Shu Ha Ri: Find a Master, follow the Master, become the Master.
Visualization is doing the thing before actually doing it. Part of it is visualizing the outcome, but a bigger component is mentally doing a dry run of the actual act multiple times, in different scenarios, with different possibilities, and different responses. This is where the anticipating and preparing for the worst happens. This is what keeps the hormones in check during the actual event. This is what helps one think on one’s feet.
I’d still like to see a well researched resource to support or disprove my views.