Monday, October 13, 2014

Being prepared: Give yourself the opportunity to walk through the ‘door of opportunity’

Being prepared is an essential element of success. Being prepared has allowed me to walk through so many doors of opportunities that were opened for me. Some times I get asked the age-old-question, “how did I become successful?” My response to this question comes in many forms, but one of them is inevitably I was prepared. A lot of times, we wait on some one to tell us how to prepare e.g., how to answer interview questions for a job, which areas of a subject we should study, etc. However, I think we should make up in our minds on how to prepare for the opportunities that may not be as straightforward as studying for a chemistry exam. This way of thinking takes a level of strategic foresight, creativity and self-discipline to accomplish a certain level of success in any particular field.

Strategic foresight allows one to see the future and adjust to the upcoming changes. Creativity allows you to make those changes in a way that may not pop-out at you at front glance. Self-discipline allows you to stay the course regardless of the last minute changes in life such as the real-estate market, declining health changes, etc.

All in all, being prepared gives you the opportunity to walk through the “door of opportunity.” Here is a parable given during the movie, Facing the Giants, that I used in teaching an international course.

Prepare your Fields for Rain

I heard a story about two farmers who desperately needed rain. Both of them prayed for rain, but only one of them went out and prepared his fields to receive it. Which one do you think trusted God to send the rain?

Which one are you? God will send the rain when He is ready. You need to prepare your field to receive it.

I like to take this parable a step further by asking the question, which farmer will receive more at the end of the season? The answer would still be same. Focusing on the positives and preparing for the opportunity will help you reap greater benefits than some one who isn’t prepared. For me, this analogy was simple mathematics. If you prepare a resume for a job interview months ahead of time, you don’t have to worry about creating one at the last minute in which we all know last-minute projects aren’t all that well put together. So take the time out now to revamp yourself for the successful opportunities to come.

~ Dr. Ronnie O'Brien Rice

Self-Discipline: ‘Challenge’ your ‘challenge’

Self-Discipline is something that should be celebrated and not frowned upon. I think if we learn to embrace the reasons and consequences of self-discipline more, we will find our selves in a better place each day. I know it may be hard to stick to a work out plan, study for school or even save money when there are so many enticing distractions. However, if we learn to look at the overall goals, those distractions become less enticing each time we are faced with them. From personal experience, the areas and instances I have failed were when I was heavily distracted with something major in my life e.g., a college exam, a financial issue, etc. But, the point I realized that has kept me on the winning side of life thus far is to handle those issues at that specific time without loosing focus of the overall purpose of my life. For example, I had a difficult professor who was very strict on the type of books we needed to have for class, and the time we were to show up for class. For a lot of students, including myself, I found it very difficult to be in his class and every time that class was coming up on my schedule for me to attend, I absolutely dreaded it. But, I had to change my mindset in regards to the purpose of me attending the class that was to broaden knowledge on the subject, graduate with a degree, obtain better opportunities for financial wealth and be a better person for those around me. As I focused on those long-term goals, attending this professor class and adhering to his strict rules wasn’t as difficult as it was earlier. Others continued to have issues and began to drop out of class. I find this way of thinking a method of being self-discipline meaning to stay the course regardless of the issues that come into play. I continued with my positive overarching purpose for attending and actually began to love the course. All in all, this class example can apply to any area of your life because we are all faced with challenges that make us want to turn the other way or just give up on the dream all together. I challenge you to ‘challenge’ your ‘challenge’ through self-discipline and staying the course. Don’t let your dreams die out because of some obscene obstacle in your life, but let your self-discipline skills turn your dreams into reality. I promise you that it is much better on the other side of the challenge rather than the fearful side. 

~ Dr. Ronnie O’Brien Rice