I Want to Be Prepared - Where Do I Start?

The preparation we engage in today will make a difference tomorrow.
The preparation we engage in today will make a difference tomorrow.

There is power in preparation. Taking the time to think about what is happening and how we respond to it gives us the edge in any situation. Unfortunately, we do not have all of the information that we need in order to make a solid plan. How can we go forward and prepare for a future that we do not know or understand?

Do you feel that you are prepared for the future?

  • Yes. I am prepared.
  • Maybe, I hope that I am.
  • I don't know. I don't really understand what to do.
  • No. How can I be prepared when I don't know what will happen?
  • No. Preparing is a waste of time.
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No matter where we are in life and what is in our future, there are four basic areas we can prepare. They are as follows:

  1. Prepare your mind
  2. Prepare your heart
  3. Prepare your place
  4. Prepare your people

Taking steps to prepare in each of these areas enables us to move forward, knowing that we have what it takes to deal with situations that come our way.

Prepare your mind

The capacity of the human brain is far beyond what any of us can comprehend. Our power to reason places us in a position above all other creatures on the face of the earth. Preparation of the mind takes place when we engage in the following behaviors:

  • Asking questions - when we ask questions, we find out how things work. We begin to realize that we have a great deal of influence on our surroundings. We gain information that enables us to make wise decisions when faced with the challenges of life.
  • Reading - Jim Rohn, success guru, says that when we read daily, we give ourselves a much greater advantage in life. He recommends at least 30 minutes of reading every day, including both instructional and inspirational material. Our habit of reading gives us the edge when life takes an unexpected turn.

  • Writing - our command of our native language increases when we engage in writing on a regular basis. Our thoughts and feelings are better expressed. We understand other people, their needs and desires, and are able to handle crisis situations with greater ease.
  • Opening our minds to new things - allowing room in our minds for the opinions and philosophies of others gives us the flexibility to learn and grow during the experiences of our lives. This preparation allows us to become better people and gives us the ability to adjust when changes are inevitable.

These four aspects of preparing our minds are the ground work for the remaining principles of preparation: preparing our hearts, our place, and our people.

Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days.

— D & C 64:34*

Prepare your heart

Preparing our hearts is all about our connections with others. The heart is the center of the soul, the link between our body and spirit. Preparing the heart requires an understanding of the following four principles:

1. There is a connection between what we think and how we feel.

Our feelings and thoughts are inextricably connected. Everything that we think affects how we feel. Our emotions oftentimes affect our thoughts. The cycle is continual. Once we realize that this cycle exists, we can change how we feel by changing what we think.

2. Our thoughts and feelings are affected by our beliefs.

What we believe in our hearts determines how we interpret the circumstances we encounter. Our core beliefs give us our automatic reactions. When we react, thoughts are generated and feelings determined. See the "I Am Circle" diagram below from The Emotional Survival Handbook.

When we understand where our thoughts, feelings, and actions, come from, we are in a much better position to change them.
When we understand where our thoughts, feelings, and actions, come from, we are in a much better position to change them. | Source

3. Changing our beliefs changes the condition of our hearts.

The condition of the heart comes from what we believe. Our knowledge and understanding of how the world works and where we fit into the overall picture has a great deal of bearing on what happens in our hearts. When our understanding of how the world works changes, our hearts change.

4. The heart governs our relationships.

Relationships are all about feelings and how we communicate them. We grow closer to others when we have positive feelings for them and believe that they have the same for us. Our ability to recognize and communicate these feelings for the benefit of mankind will ultimately determine where we end up in life.

Preparation of the mind leads to preparation of the heart. Desires, thoughts, and actions are governed by pure motives and we want what is best for ourselves and our loved ones. The next step is to prepare our place.

Wanting what is best for ourselves and our families increases our motivation to prepare.
Wanting what is best for ourselves and our families increases our motivation to prepare.

Prepare your place

We all want to have a place in this world. This doesn't just happen by itself. It requires a personal investment on our part. When we channel our time and resources into specific goals, we come to realize that we need each of the following:

  • A place of residence - there is little we can accomplish if we do not have a place to live, put our belongings, and use as home base. As children, we lived with our parents or caregivers. We had access to their resources. As adults, the time comes when we want a place of our own, and are ready to do what it takes to obtain it. Once we have it, we are responsible to keep it clean, organized, and livable.
  • A place of employment - money is one of the most important resources we have at our disposal. Having a source of income is vital to our preparation. If we do not like our current place of employment, we are the only ones who can do something about it. Our preparation for the working world gives us the ability to move about and function in society.

  • A place of learning - our most important place of learning is within our own homes. Learning is vital to the preparation process. We teach family members to respect our place of learning by helping them create one of their own.
  • A place of rest and relaxation - our bodies require rejuvenation. We work hard to provide for ourselves and our loved ones. Allowing ourselves to rest and relax gives our bodies the time to recuperate, increases our emotional health, and wards off illness and stress.

Having a place of our own is a vital ingredient in the recipe for a happy life. No matter what we encounter in the world outside, coming home to shelter, protection, and peace enables us to keep ourselves on an even keel. Taking the time to plan and prepare a place gives us the opportunity to prepare our people.

"In a world of turmoil and uncertainty, it is more important than ever to make our families the center of our lives and the top of our priorities."

— L. Tom Perry

Prepare your people

There are many people in our world. Our connections with these people make or break our level of preparation. We have already prepared ourselves by preparing our mind, heart, and place, now we are in a position to prepare others. There is a hierarchy, however, to our preparation:

First, prepare your immediate family

Our immediate family is made up of those that we live with personally; i.e. our spouse or partner, and the children who are in our household. These people are dependent upon us to see that their needs are met. Next to our own personal health and well being, they are our number one priority. The time that we spend teaching skills and helping them live wisely will carry us through many a crisis in life.

Second, prepare your support group

Everyone needs a support group. This may be our extended family, friends, organized religion, or others who share common beliefs and interests with us. When we are having a tough time, our ability to call on their resources enables us to get through.

Third, prepare your professional connections

Whether we are in a solid position in our employment or looking elsewhere, change happens in a moment. We never know when we will need to find a different source of income. The average worker changes jobs every 4-6 years. Having professional connections insures that we have a way to provide for our own.

Fourth, prepare for your own demise

We all leave this world at some point or another. Preparing our power of attorney documents, wills, and life insurance will provide for our loved ones when we cannot be there for them. This preparation is vital to our peace of mind, as well as theirs.

Preparation allows us to be ready for the unexpected things we encounter in life. It also puts us in a position to be an asset to our family, community, and the world. When we prepare, we are able to recognize and give to those who are in need. We understand how they feel, and we have the resources to step forward in their behalf.

Marion G. Romney once said, "Food for the hungry cannot come from empty shelves." Our level of preparation enables us to become instruments in the hands of God to help others. The song in the video below, "My Own Little World," by Matthew West illustrates this well.

Start today. Prepare you mind, prepare your heart, prepare your place, and prepare your people, for your emotional health!

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. For more information on emotional health, see www.denisewa.com.

*The Doctrine and Covenants, published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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10 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 19 months ago from Olympia, WA

Denise, I've spent a lifetime getting prepared for this moment. I'm as confident as I've ever been in my ability to handle whatever happens in the future. Bring it on! All of your suggestions and reflections are excellent.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 19 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

Go for it, Billy! You have come a long way! You are an excellent example of the principles of preparation and how the things we do today make for a better tomorrow! I wish you the best in all you do! Thanks for your support and comments!


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 19 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

A wonderful hub. On reading and reflection I believe I have some preparations to make where they may be lacking at this time. Thank you.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 19 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

That surprises me, Eric, you seem like the type of person who reads on a regular basis! Reflection is something we could all do more of. When we read, ponder, and reflect, we are able to gain wisdom that will help us in the future. Thanks for stopping by!


Padmajah Badri profile image

Padmajah Badri 19 months ago from India

A hub which reflects my thoughts .I will focus on the basic areas and follow it.Voted up as always.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 19 months ago from The Caribbean

Denise, your article is both instructional and empowering. It puts us in a position to have better control of ourselves and things around us, if we prepare. Excellent presentation!


lolontka profile image

lolontka 19 months ago from Buckinghamshire, UK

Your hub makes great sense Denise. I know that if I prepare for the day, week, year ahead things tend to go much more smoothly. I am a bit of a procrastinator by nature with a tendency to let things take care of themselves and my aim is to be more prepared in my everyday life. After all, life is short and there is so many wonderful, worthy things to do!


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 19 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

Thanks, Padmajah. I appreciate you stopping by and commenting.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 19 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

There is so much that we can do, Dora, if we take the time to think things through. Our ability to make a difference in our own future, and that of our loved ones is more powerful than we realize. Thanks for your insightful comment!


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 19 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

I think that we all procrastinate, Lolontka! It takes a great deal of desire to overcome that habit, along with a lot of positive action! When we look ahead in our lives, we realize that things change on a regular basis. We rarely have the luxury of life staying the same. You are wise to give yourself goals that fit into the daily, weekly, and yearly road maps. That way, you are looking at both the short and long-term future. When we do this, we are much more likely to see positive things happen in our lives. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts here today.

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