Failure to Prepare

I never know where I might find inspiration for this blog.  Today, it was reading an interview in the AARP Bulletin with basketball legend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.  The journalist asked about the best advice Abdul-Jabbar had received from his college coach and his reply was that the coach would say:  “Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.”

How often do we go through life on auto-pilot, never really planning or preparing for things, and expecting that we’ll manage any bumps in the road without much interruption or attention.  We go through regular morning routines getting ready for work or school without really thinking about the breakfast we’re skipping, or the clothes we’re choosing, or the last-minute lunch items we’re snatching from the refrigerator.    We live in a “grab and go” kind of society now where convenience and immediacy are paramount to taking time to consider options or preferences.

I don’t imagine life will slow down much for many of us. Instead, we could slow down a little. Consider the options. Be able to recognize opportunities, then plan and prepare for things that will save us time and anguish in the future.  Even the simplest preparations can help.

For instance, I’ve found that if I take just a few minutes before going to bed to choose my work outfit for the next day, getting dressed the next morning goes more smoothly and takes less time.  I don’t waste precious morning minutes ironing a pair of slacks because I prepared and did it the night before.  I don’t have to take time figuring out which scarf or necklace goes best with the sweater because I chose accessories before going to bed.

When I make breakfast for Jim and me on a slower-paced weekend morning, I take the time to make extra servings so that we have leftovers for at least two more healthy breakfasts during the week.  This preparation saves us from grabbing carb-heavy bagels or skipping breakfast altogether on those more hectic workday mornings.

These two simple preparations give Jim and me the opportunity to enjoy spending some morning time together over a healthy breakfast before jumping into our separate workdays.  We get a healthier start to our day because we’re able to take a few extra minutes to be together, share a laugh, and ease into our fast-paced jobs.

This same preparation technique can be applied to the tougher topics in life, including make preparations and plans for our older age, declining health, and end of life.  No one has to make all the preparations at once if we starting talking when we’re relatively healthy.

Not making plans, though, may force people we love into a “grab and go” mindset – grabbing the first treatment/procedure offered and making decisions without the benefit of your thoughts and conversations.

Caring Choices believes in the art of preparation and planning.  When we fail to prepare, our loved ones will be living with the failure.  Let’s not burden people we care about with feelings of guilt over “wrong” decisions.  Conversations are the best way to share your plans with family and friends.  You might begin over a slow-paced weekend breakfast!

© 2015 Caring Choices


2 thoughts on “Failure to Prepare

  1. Wendy

    It seems that every time we visit my parents, my father has something to share about their decisions and planning. I need to be better about knowing what to ask and what to do. As the oldest of the three kids, and the only girl, I know the responsibility is mine …. not that it must be that way, but I know it will be. I think if I were a “true planner”, I would learn all I can to not only help them, but ultimately help myself and those who will be responsible for me as I age.

    1. Cindy Moyer Post author

      Wendy – thanks for commenting. Yes, you’re right … as the only girl the primary caregiver/decision-maker role will likely fall to you (nationwide statistics tell us that). And you can definitely benefit by knowing what questions to ask. It’s helpful that your parents are thinking about this and sharing their planning with you. I’m happy to field questions privately from you any time. – Cindy

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