The preparedness movement has grown bigger, and earned a more respectable reputation than it used to have. People who buy guns for self-defense, store a year’s supply of dried food in five-gallon buckets, and who own generators are not made fun of quite as much as they used to be.
It’s smart to be prepared for emergencies, big and small. But why not be prepared for other aspects of life, as well?
Dig the well before you are thirsty
This is an ancient Chinese proverb, and fits in well with the theme of emergency preparedness – having extra food, water, and medical supplies on hand; having a supplemental source of energy; having a storm shelter built. But what about other parts of life?
When I was still pregnant with our son, I began reading books about homeschooling. Jerry made fun of me, but I wanted to know what I was doing before I walked into it.
I also studied up on childbirth early on in the game, probably at least eight months early. I was also surprised when I later made a friend who had her baby without knowing anything about it, without ever having read a single blog post about breastfeeding.
I believe in being prepared. Reading up on homeschooling while I was pregnant gave me several years to consider which direction we would go with it (there are several, in case you don’t know). I knew I didn’t have to give birth in a hospital if I didn’t want to (I didn’t, but I ended up doing so anyway – long story that doesn’t fit here).
One of the best child-rearing choices I’d ever made was to attend La Leche League meetings while I was pregnant. If I hadn’t, I might have given up early in the game because in the beginning it hurt. But I had the phone number of the LLL leader and she emphasized with me and coached me through the first rough month.
Well, now that I’ve lost my entire male audience and likely much of my female audience as well, let me make my point:
If you want to be successful in life, you need to be willing to gain some skills and knowledge ahead of time.
Why? So that when you arrive at a certain bend in the road, you aren’t totally thrown off track.
Does that mean you try to learn about every possible contigency you might encounter? No, of course not. You’d never be able to do that. But not everything in life is a surprise.
Such as, say, childbirth happening eight months after a woman figures out she’s pregnant.
- Or getting married.
- Or starting a business.
- Or traveling somewhere.
- Or having your own house built.
- Or moving out to the middle of nowhere two and a half hours away from a major city.
How do you “dig a well?”
As soon as you’ve set your eye on a particular goal or dream, start collecting whatever knowledge and skills you will need once you reach it.
- Pray for guidance. (Notice how I put that one first!)
- Read books – a lot of them.
- Talk to people who have already arrived at the place you hope eventually to be.
Yes, God sometimes looks at our plans and laughs. But sometimes, He nods His head and gives you a thumbs-up. Even if your plans don’t go exactly as you hoped, or take longer to unfold than you thought they would (a-hem, welcome to my world), they will get you further along, more quickly, than you would have if you had made no plans at all.
Consider work freedom (“retirement” is too limiting a term). If you want to grow a nest egg large enough so that its interest will eventually replace a job, you need to plan your spending accordingly, and/or to grow your income, as well as when you want this freedom to happen.
The most successful people never obtain success on purpose. They prepare ahead of time for that success. They dig a well before they are thirsty.