Preparation is key to success.

Very often, people embark on the journey of success in life without adequate preparation, or even preparing at all. They neither count the cost of the trip nor take sufficient thought of the direction. To most people success is a thing of chance, a gamble that happens to the lucky just like that. Sometime, it is so; most times, it is not.

In fact, the exception is that success happens by chance, a lucky break, yet most people prefer to base their quest for success on this narrow margin, which often eludes them. They take for granted the fact that nothing good and endurable is ever achieved without long training or preparation. As it is usually said, nothing ventured, nothing accomplished and nothing is ventured without a goal-which gives direction and which is a function of preparation.

We need to break down this loaded statement. People begin to venture into something (may be a project or profession) when they receive some direction about their life and the project or venture becomes a means of actualizing that direction or goal. But because most people do not prepare well before venturing out, the goal and direction is not well clarified and validated in their consciousness, so that the direction is hazy and the goal often mixed up.

Consequently, the project or venture is easily truncated for lack of steadfastness as well as indecision. Therefore, preparation enables you to clarify, validate, and concretize the goal and direction. The Bible talks of a house built on the rock. That rock is the strength of your convictions, which is a function of the clarity and validity of your belief.

For instance, business statistics have shown that seven(7) out of every 10 new small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) eventually die within five years of start-up (we shall be talking more about this when we begin the series on business and investment). This is an issue few prospective entrepreneurs bother to investigate before setting out on their ventures. Underlying all the reasons responsible for the high mortality rate of SMEs, such as low finance, lack of management capacity, hostile business environment, etc, is the lack of knowledge of the business, arising from lack of preparation. And if the truth is to be told, preparation is a process of learning.

However, most people prefer to do it the other way round because they are either in a hurry to make it, or assume it is not necessary; both mean the same thing. They want to reach the target or objective without first taking the first step, as it is said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. The first step in the journey for success is preparation. You may have the greatest idea, or the finest gifting, but without preparation – like a talented athlete who shuns training – you will produce little success.

Therefore, failures always reveal weaknesses and provide incontrovertible evidence of our incomplete understanding of how things work. They should sensitise us to our limitations and how to approach the next task.

Success is difficult without direction and we develop and establish direction when we begin to prepare ourselves in some certain assignment or vocation. It is the search and seeking for self-discovery and empowerment that produces specific goals, which then drives and clarifies the direction.

The race for success is a marathon, not a sprint-dash and it requires endurance, patience, continuous effort and stamina, more than speed. Here again, most people miss it.

They hope and believe that the faster they make it (succeed) the better, which is okay; and it is good and pleasant to male it fast. But it is not always the case. And the Bible says so too. “Wealth hastily made soon destroys the life of the owner” (Proverb 13:11).

This doesn’t mean that it is bad to make money fast; not at all. The problem is that if you set your heart to make it fast, you are likely to put your hand in evil, which may stand against you thereafter. So the true test of wealth and/or success that will stand you in good stead is to have a long term perspective of success.

Success is not a function of speed; only adequate, and constant preparation, can guarantee you peed, but preparation takes time and hard work.