Stop Preparing and Start Living
Nov 29, 2015 09:38PM
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 time “preparing” ourselves. We’re preparing to go onstage 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.
It has happened countless times before: a teacher walks into class with a lesson sequence developed over hours – counting the minutes, orchestrating, in advance, each second and thoroughly planning. Then, as the class unfolds, because it is so prepared, the teacher is resistant to adapt and change. Perhaps the best preparation is learning how to flow gracefully and harness the wisdom to let go of the 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.
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.
So tackle tomorrow by going 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.
HawaH has authored four books and produced three documentary films. He is co-founder and executive director of the non-profit organization, One Common Unity.