I Want to Be Prepared - Where Do I Start?
Do you feel that you are prepared for the future?
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?
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:
- Prepare your mind
- Prepare your heart
- Prepare your place
- 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.
1. 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*
2. 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:
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.
3. 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
4. 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.
*The Doctrine and Covenants, published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
© 2015 Denise W Anderson