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I know it is not original with me, but perhaps you have heard some version of the quote, “Prepare yourself and one day your opportunity will come!”
Most people who go to college do so because they want to prepare themselves for more opportunities in life. I do not think that an educated person is “better” than another person, but I do think they may have more doors of opportunity open to them that would not have been opened if they were not properly educated.
Think about the preparation of the Olympic athletes. Their dedication and commitment is beyond anything most of us can even imagine. When President Reagan was in office, he spoke to the U.S. Olympic athletes and reminded them, “You, ladies and gentlemen, perhaps more than anyone else, understand that the will to win pales in comparison to the will to prepare to win.” What was President Reagan saying? He was simply telling them that they had prepared themselves and soon the opportunity would present itself for them to use all of that preparation in order to win a medal for their country.
It is sad, but true, that many of us miss opportunities because we have not done our homework – we have not prepared ourselves. If we will simply invest the time, effort and energy to focus on the preparation, then opportunity will come sooner or later.
This principle works not only in positive circumstances, but in negative ones as well. Let me give you two examples.
Two people that represent this example is John Wesley, founder of the Methodist church, and Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States. Both of these men changed the course of human history to a large degree. However, there is a fact about both of them that perhaps you did not know. John Wesley and Abraham Lincoln had difficult marriages.
Wesley was an itinerate preacher who rode his horse from city to city, where he would preach in open-air meetings. His wife would sometimes follow him to some of those meetings where he was preaching and would shout from the back of the audience, “Don’t listen to him. He is a liar! He doesn’t tell the truth. Don’t pay any attention to him!” Can you imagine being in a church service where the pastor’s wife stood in the back of the room and shouted those kinds of words?
Once, when he was asked why he didn’t pastor one particular church, he said, “The world is my parish.” But, I have a sneaking suspicion that John Wesley was simply going from town to town to try and stay ahead of his wife!
Then there is Abraham Lincoln. He was an attorney who traveled all over The Eighth Circuit court district conducting business and legal cases. And, it is a well-known fact that his wife was very negative towards him as well. She may have even been mentally ill. The reason he stayed gone so much was because he just could not handle the difficulties at home.
Although I do not know all of the details concerning the married lives of these two men, I do know that neither one of them gave up on their marriage and that in spite of their difficulties, they continued to focus on their own personal preparation. When the opportunity arose for John Wesley to preach, or for Abraham Lincoln to practice law, they were each well prepared. I am not saying that their experience was the best way possible to proceed through life; I am just pointing out that this principle works, regardless of your circumstances, whether they are good or bad.
What is your situation today? Are things going great for you? If they are, then I am happy for you. Are you experiencing some difficulty in your personal relationships or business? If so, then I hope things will get better. But, in either case, do not give up on your preparation. Sooner or later an opportunity will present itself and because of your experience and what you have learned through your preparation time, you will be equipped and ready to take the next step forward.
We cannot control when the opportunity will arise, but we can control the preparation part. Most of us would prefer everything to run smoothly, but remember, even if it doesn’t, our circumstances should not prevent us from continuing to prepare ourselves each day to learn and grow right where we are currently planted.
You will always be the winner in the future by preparing yourself today! After all, in this life, today really is all you have for sure!