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Mental Preparation for Daily Living

I want to start by telling you the story about my most recent holiday. I have just returned from a wonderfully relaxing holiday on the Gold Coast .... [as you begin daydreaming about your holidays, bring yourself back and read on] .... The reason for this holiday was a planned assault on the theme parks. Now this may all sound like a fairly standard holiday....., yet for those of us whose heart skips beats at a rate relative to its distance from the ground, it presented an interesting dilemma. My girlfriend and I had organised the holiday well in advance, which gave me time to mentally prepare myself. From the time we booked the holiday I was continually reminded about certain rides that drop from 200m in the air, and others that throw you around a track at 100km/hr - upside down and around and around (personally, I think some of the parties involved just enjoyed explaining the details just because they liked watching me squirm in fear.) Yet, with faith in my ability to prepare myself for life challenges, I set out to conquer every ride possible. With every ounce of mental strength I prepared myself, and I didn't stop until I was strapped into the Superman ride at Movie World at around 12 midday on Monday the 23rd of February. The reward for my effort was an EXILARATING holiday, travelling at over 100km/hr on numerous occasions, dropping down approximately 200m in a couple of seconds, and generally just defying all the basic rules a person afraid of heights would normally follow. Now apart from sharing my holiday stories with you, I do have a message to share with you. Preparation is key to success. Whether it is conquering a fear, making a business deal, or competing in a competition. Why do you think there are so many saying around such a concept:

  • 5 P's - Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance

  • The Scouts - "Be Prepared"

  • Henry Ford - Before everything else, getting ready is the secret to success

  • Confusious - Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure

I used a few techniques to prepare myself to conquer my fears. Self talk, simply thinking and repeating statements in you mind. For me this generally was "Stay calm, it will be fun, you are strapped in and safe". I use this technique often, especially just before an important event. For example, when presenting in front of an audience, I have a tendency to speak to myself as an outside party and coach myself on my plan for delivering my presentation. Others included - deep abdominal breathing, shaking out tension from my limbs, and imagery (imagining successful completion). All aimed at relaxing myself. There are some concepts I hope you will take out of my experiences.

  • Preparing yourself for every situation will make it easier to create success.

  • The amount of time you spend preparing will differ depending on how important or uncomfortable the event is. The more important/uncomfortable the event the longer it will take to feel prepared.

  • The event is never as intense as your mind will create it.

  • Arm yourself with an arsenal of tools to aid you in preparing. Have a plan A, B, C and so on - prepare to be prepared.

There are some key steps to preparing: Start by developing Awareness:

  • What do I need to do ...

  • How do I feel about this ...

  • How do I want to be feeling ....

  • Are there any potential problems I may encounter?

Getting "in the Zone":

  • Align your feelings with how you want to feel

  • Prepare plans to overcome potential problem (both general and specific)

I prepare myself in a general manner for every day, as well as for each specfic situation. I recommend that you too consider changing your appraoch to each day and employ actions that will help you to be more prepared. Think about the life you could be living if you lived every moment as if you knew what was coming!!!

The famous quote is that SUCCESS is the meeting of OPPORTUNITY and PREPARATION.


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