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  • Writer's pictureRobert Stevenson

Preparation Is Key

Robert Stevenson Blog - He who makes the most...wins

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.


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