Many of us spend a lot of time “undoing” things or repairing situations simply because we did not think things through properly or plan better on the front end of a situation. Someone wisely noted, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” It is true that it takes time to plan, but isn’t it better to PRE-pare than it is to have to RE-pair whatever it is you are trying to do? Let me give you a couple of examples of what I mean.
Years ago, I was taking a trip to Jackson, Mississippi. I did not take the time to make hotel reservations because I assumed that there would be plenty of hotels to choose from when I arrived. Unfortunately, there was a big convention in town that week and every hotel room in the entire city was booked. And I mean EVERY hotel room! No matter how hard I tried, I could not find a room and finally ended up having to spend the night in the backseat of my car. Lying there on that hot summer night, I realized that making hotel reservations ahead of time really is not such a bad idea! You see, I had to RE-pair the situation because I had not PRE-pared my accommodations.
Fortunately, we live in a world where you can usually recover from almost any mistake that you make, but as my mother used to say, “That was just so unnecessary!” It is so unnecessary to spend your life and time repairing something that a little bit of fore-thought or planning could have helped you avoid.
Another area that requires constant preparation is personal finance. I have seen families devastated because no one took the time to think through what their financial future would look like if they did not prepare. Unwise or unprepared family members can become a tremendous drain and burden on the rest of the family. However, those who do prepare well for their own retirement and sunset years are able to take care of themselves adequately and often leave additional financial resources for other people in the family to enjoy long after they are gone.
I am reminded of the humorous story of the father who was trying to teach his son the value of planning ahead. One night as he was reading the paper he said, “Son, listen to this article. They just found Mr. John Jones dead in the street! At one time he was worth over 10 million dollars, but when they found him, he only had 10 cents in his pocket. What do you think about that, Son?” Naturally, the father was hoping the boy would see the foolishness of wasting all your financial resources. The son thought for a minute and said, “Wow…that’s what I call cutting it close!” Needless to say, he did not get his father’s intended message.
Financial success requires reading, thinking, and planning in order to be stable in your sunset years. I realize there will always a lot of uncertainty in the economic world, but there are some age-old principles which will help us all: stay out of bad debt; don’t spend all of your money (I can still hear my father saying, “Don’t let money burn a hole in your pocket!”); save some money for a rainy day; and invest wisely to create the best return on your investment.
Perhaps one area of learning to PRE-pare instead of RE-pair which has helped me the most is in getting dressed each morning. I once read where President Eisenhower always laid out his clothes before he went to bed each night in order to feel successful the next morning. He said if he could successfully accomplish his very first task each morning, it seemed to help the rest of his day to go better. Since he had a strong military background as a 5-star General in the U.S. Army, perhaps his military training helped him to understand the value of preparation. There is nothing better than a successful start to your new day and there is nothing worse than a poor, failing experience to start you day!
Failure to PRE-pare by laying out your clothes the night before can leave you having to RE-pair the situation the next morning when you can’t find a pair of socks that match or finding out that what you intended to wear is still at the cleaners or worst yet your clothes need mending. And, if you have children or grandchildren, this idea is especially useful because it can help you to avoid morning arguments and strife. Just a little bit of preparation can save you a lot of time and stress. I have a friend who did not notice moths had eaten holes in his pants until he was on a flight heading to an important meeting. He had to stop in the airport gift shop when he arrived to buy a black magic marker to color his legs so his flesh would not show through the holes in his pants. People in the meeting kept saying, “I smell something like a magic marker!” No wonder the Boy Scouts have always had as their motto, “Be Prepared!”
I realize that all of us are going to make mistakes in life, and I hope that we will all repair them as quickly as possible. We need to learn from our mistakes and then be prepared not to make the same mistake again in the future. If we simply prepare ourselves, we will have a happier life that is filled with less stress and more productivity. That sounds like a good deal to me. Doesn’t it to you?
Tip: If you do not PRE-pare, you will need to RE-pair!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm