Consider This

Robert Stevenson’s Thoughts on the Pursuit of Excellence

Preparation is Key

July 18, 2021

by Robert Stevenson

Georgia Tech invited 20 aerospace engineers and college professors to a paper airplane flying contest to see who could design a paper airplane to stay up the longest. A contest had also been conducted for 2nd-graders in the state of Georgia to see who could design a paper airplane and fly it the longest. The 7-year-old boy who won that contest was invited to Georgia Tech to compete with the aerospace engineers.

After they all made their paper airplanes and flew them to record their times … 20 aerospace engineers and professors were embarrassed when the 2nd-grade boy came in first place with, what he called, his Double Delta Flyer.

His paper airplane flew for 4.3 seconds and missed the longest time ever recorded in history by half a second. When the contingency of engineers and professors came over to question the small boy about how he did it, he said, “I don’t know.” So, they went to his mother and asked how her 7-year-old son beat 20 aerospace engineers and college professors. She said, “Since he was 5 years old, he has made over 2,000 paper airplanes … so I guess he who makes the most planes wins.”

You want to be a gold medal winner in gymnastics; preparation that is required - about eight years of training, six hours per day. The same is true of all great athletes; years of training/preparation. Preparation required to become a concert pianist is approximately seventeen years. Great attorneys, doctors, lawyers, Realtors, artists, computer analysts, chefs, teachers, managers, bosses, etc., don’t just happen; the more they prepare, the better they will be. The same will be true for you. Years ago, I heard the analogy of the 5 P’s – Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. I like that one.

Proper preparation also helps to reduce stress. So many people put everything off to the last minute and then try to pull off a miracle. The pressure mounts, little mistakes become giant problems, because they have left themselves no time.

Proper preparation is very simply the critical ingredient in the success formula. Now, that's not to say that diligent preparation will ensure that you are successful, but it is to say that the lack of proper preparation will almost certainly lead to failure. I think Benjamin Franklin said it best: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” What have you done today to prepare yourself for a better tomorrow?

Without proper preparation
there can be no success.

"Your only true security in life
is your ability to perform."

About the Author

Robert Stevenson is an expert at building a high-performance business culture, improving efficiency, and accelerating growth. He is one of the most widely sought-after speakers in the world today, as well as a best-selling author. He has owned five companies, sold internationally in over 20 countries. Robert has spoken to over 2,500 companies throughout the world and his research in the area of corporate and entrepreneurial success is extensive. Over 2 million people have benefitted from his powerful, practical, and thought-provoking programs. He is a true master at blending facts, inspiration, conviction, and humor into all his programs.

Companies like FedEx, Prudential, Lockheed Martin, Anheuser-Busch, Chevron, American Express, and Berkshire Hathaway continue to rely on him for a fresh, unique perspective on businesses’ most crucial issues. To learn more about Robert and what he can do for your team visit his website at

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