There are no emergencies for those who are prepared. If you started to say that slogan in front of my kids, they could complete it, as they hear it often from me. It is true… to a point. So many emergencies happen because a situation isn’t thought through. This applies to all facets of life, from work projects to interpersonal relationships.
Naturally, there are exceptions to this rule. There are times when unforeseen variables enter the picture. However, many of my “emergencies” have happened because I was in a hurry, or too lazy to set up a situation appropriately. The time that I decided it would be safe to stand on a chair with a known broken leg would be an example of both poor planning and laziness. An extra 5 minutes of effort would have avoided several weeks of recovery pain as a result of crashing down onto a very hard concrete basement floor.
The above mantra also works when you want to sustain a behavior. I know that I feel better when I get some exercise every day. Going to the gym gives me the best workout, but walking offers me many more practical advantages. Walking allows me to pray and meditate. Walking is something I enjoy. Walking means that I can stop and get a cup of coffee. Walking means, I can stop and write (as I am doing right now). Walking, there is a good chance that I’ll see my friend, Tom.
There are potential pitfalls to walking as I’m no longer in a controlled environment. The three deterrents to walking for me are very hot weather, freezing weather, and precipitation in the form of rain or snow. In most cases, these are not insurmountable barriers. Over the last few years, I have been refining my waking “gear.” Warm weather gear is easy, wear less. Rain gear requires a little more planning; a good umbrella, “duck” type waterproof shoes, a light rain jacket. Cold weather presents more challenges. This morning I checked the iPhone weather app. It was -12F (-24 Celsius) outside! It would have been easy for me to stay in bed. It would have been easy to say, “I’ll walk tomorrow.” In my case putting things off can become a pattern, one day becomes two, two becomes three.
For Christmas, I asked my wife to get me a few items. UnderArmour thermal tights, a long sleeve t-shirt, and one of those “bank robber” face masks. Wearing these types of clothes are not particularly pleasant for me. They are very tight and remind me of my obese days. However, to accomplish a goal, you need to do those things that will most likely yield success. I walked yesterday without the UnderArmour, and by walk’s end my legs were burning in pain from the cold.
The rest of my cold weather gear sounds like an advertisement for a clothing catalog. Wool socks from REI, Columbia hiking shoes, heavy duty pants from Duluth Trading Company, a Woolrich flannel shirt, a Cabella down coat, Carhartt gloves. Add to this outfit a face mask, and a long scarf. There are no emergencies for those prepared! Out into the environment, one foot in front of the other.
The walk to Starbucks was still cold, but very manageable. I do not fear the return walk home.
Sometimes no amount of planning is sufficient to avoid a problem. A sudden storm appears when you are in the middle of nowhere. Your computer’s hard drive corrupts when a report is due. The person that you are trying to solve a problem with is erratic or irrational. Yes, there are times when there are emergencies for even the prepared. However, they are much less frequent. Learning to plan for situations and events also help you cope when things do go awry. Your mind is in a problem-solving mode, and you are primed to explore reasonable solutions.
I know people who prepare little. In fact, I would say some of them are comfortable with the chaos that poor planning yields. They live on the edge when it comes to their spending habits. They choose conflict over peace. They blame rather than solve. They deal with unnecessary emergencies. In the process, they waste their own energy and the time and goodwill of those around them. The power that could be moving them forward in life is expended to just keep their dysfunctional status quo.
It is not my goal to judge such individuals. I can only state that this is not my preferred behavior. Planning and preparation may take a little more time in the short run, but yield less “forest fires” to put out in the long run.
So, with UnderArmour, down coat, and wool socks I will venture back home. Some may make fun of me for being “too OCD.” Others may think me too controlled, and therefore not very exciting. They are all welcome to their opinion. A nice walk will reward me despite the fact that it -12F outside. When I get home, I will carefully take off, fold, and put away my cold weather gear. It will be waiting for me when I get up at 4 AM tomorrow.