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It’s all in the Prep

by admin


Life is no joke. It can be hectic and it’s not always easy to stay motivated. Last year’s writing competition winner, Sicelo, sheds some light on how some preparation can help you take hold of the rest of this year.

I’ve found one of the deepest depictions of ‘being prepared’ in Les Brown’s book of preparation. It speaks of the Chinese Bamboo tree. Little is known about this piece of vegetation which is why I was astonished when I read that the Chinese Bamboo tree takes 5 years to grow. In the process of growing the Chinese Bamboo tree, one has to water, feed and fertilize the ground every single day.  Remarkably, the seed doesn’t break through the ground until its 5th year. However, once it breaks through the ground, it grows to be 90 feet tall in just 5 weeks. The question is then this: does the Chinese Bamboo tree take 5 years or 5 weeks to grow?

The answer would have to be 5 years – had that seed not been watered, fed and nurtured every single day, it would have died.

Dreams = Bamboo Trees

This vividly resembles the commitment and effort in the preparation that goes into achieving any dream, vision or goal. Many times we work on our set goals, dreams and objectives for sustained periods of time and, seemingly, have nothing to show for it. This can lead to us abandoning our aspirations. Like Chinese Bamboo tree farmers, we need to be unwavering in watering, feeding and nurturing our dreams every single day ‘till they pierce through the ground and reach dizzying heights. That’s the point at which they are admired by all as a testament to steadfast commitment and preparation.

6 Years for 12 Seconds of Bliss

One of the most powerful illustrations of preparation dates back to 17 December 1903. On this day, the Wright brothers flew the first successful flight in a motorized plane. The achievement was the culmination of six years of commitment to their vision. They were only able to stay airborne for twelve seconds, which paved the way forward for modern travel as we know it. Six years of preparation for twelve seconds of bliss that would affect humanity as well as its ability to travel and experience the world. In a world that values results over everything, this piece of history reminds us that quitting when our efforts don’t lead to instant results is one of the greatest threats to success.  Deeeeep!

Seriously though, placing value solely on performance is fruitless when achievement is actually earned in the process.[/vc_column_text][vc_cta h2=”SUGGESTED” h2_font_container=”font_size:12|line_height:1″ h2_use_theme_fonts=”yes” h4=”Youth Month Competition” h4_font_container=”font_size:20|color:%23f1626e|line_height:2″ h4_google_fonts=”font_family:ABeeZee%3Aregular%2Citalic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal” add_button=”right” btn_title=”Enter now” btn_style=”outline-custom” btn_outline_custom_color=”#323b4b” btn_outline_custom_hover_background=”#ae4768″ btn_outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” btn_align=”center” btn_i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-chevron-right” use_custom_fonts_h2=”true” use_custom_fonts_h4=”true” btn_add_icon=”true” btn_link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Feduconnect.co.za%2Fyouth-month-competition%2F||target:%20_blank|” css=”.vc_custom_1528117877622{border-top-width: 2px !important;border-right-width: 2px !important;border-bottom-width: 2px !important;border-left-width: 2px !important;padding-top: 10px !important;padding-bottom: 10px !important;border-left-color: #ae4768 !important;border-right-color: #ae4768 !important;border-top-color: #ae4768 !important;border-bottom-color: #ae4768 !important;border-radius: 5px !important;}”]Do you also want an article published on EduConnect?  Well, you can have your say this month!  We want to hear from you so enter our writing competition and you could WIN a coaching session with one of South Africa’s leaders.  #YouthTodayLeaderTomorrow  [/vc_cta][vc_column_text]

Project Purple

It’s important for us to not be naïve in thinking that preparation will be glittered with ease or come at a low cost. Behind the attractive tinsel of success is always the expensive nature of preparation.

In 2004, Apple started working on a top-secret product named (at the time) “Project Purple”. Three years later, and after $150 million in expenditure, Steve Jobs famously took to the stage and presented the first iPhone to the world. At the iPhone’s peak in 2015, Apple sold nearly 75 million iPhones in the 4th quarter, helping Apple become the most profitable company in history reaching a profit of $18 billion. Put differently, Apple was selling, on average, 34 000 iPhone’s every hour. It would take Europe’s largest supermarket retailer, Tesco, 10 years for it to make profits that Apple made in just 3 months.  The significance of this story is that no other phone company had ever spent so much money on research and development on a single phone.  Persistance and preparation for the win!

Lessons from Vincent van Gough

Perhaps one of the greatest illustrations, when looking at preparation stems from Vincent van Gough’s life and his paintings. One of my favourite paintings by Vincent van Gough is The Potato Eaters. This might strike many as “strange” since the painting is known for drawing criticism from art scholars for how poorly it is pained. The lessons we can draw from this painting, however, are profound. They outline that even “masters” had to go through a journey and preparation in order to become known masters in their trade.

The Potato Eaters

Above: The Potato Eaters by Vincent Van Gough

This is one of van Gough’s early paintings, at a time when he was still inexperienced. Simply put, this picture does not represent the work of an artist that would be considered one of the greats.

Painters are often thought to be people who create work in the spur of the moment or in a frenzy of creativity or passion. Contrary to this, van Gough was a careful and tedious painter. This is evidenced by the research he did to create his work. He worked for months putting together the information for this picture, doing as many as 40 individual studies of peasant’s heads then piecing together the composition.  That’s some serious dedication.

Van Gough Valued Prep

This was van Gough’s preparation stage. He worked tirelessly with little to no acclaim, gathering the confidence and skill that would later lead to him being one of the most respected and celebrated painters. Even though this period wasn’t a period in which van Gough created great works, it was the cornerstone of which he’d become a great artist. Without this phase of intense criticism, research, practice and self-criticism, van Gough wouldn’t have been the Vincent van Gough we now know.

The Harvest

Above: The Harvest by Vincent Van Gough

In 1888, Vincent painted one of the first paintings that he considered a masterpiece. The painting, fittingly named “The Harvest”, shows the culmination of the years of experience and practice being reaped in a painting that art critics, scholars and museum directors unanimously consider being a masterpiece. The painting, as the name would suggest, is the harvest of his energies and diligence he had invested in achieving his objective of being a formidable painter.

Clearly, as seen from the use of colour and attention to detail, he is brimming with confidence as opposed to the darker earlier pieces he painted. This painting is the celebration of a journey and the preparation that van Gough endured to reach this point.[/vc_column_text][vc_cta h2=”SUGGESTED” h2_font_container=”font_size:12|line_height:1″ h2_use_theme_fonts=”yes” h4=”The Pursuit of Purpose” h4_font_container=”font_size:20|color:%23f1626e|line_height:2″ h4_google_fonts=”font_family:ABeeZee%3Aregular%2Citalic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal” add_button=”right” btn_title=”READ MORE” btn_style=”outline-custom” btn_outline_custom_color=”#323b4b” btn_outline_custom_hover_background=”#ae4768″ btn_outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” btn_align=”center” btn_i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-chevron-right” use_custom_fonts_h2=”true” use_custom_fonts_h4=”true” btn_add_icon=”true” btn_link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Feduconnect.co.za%2Fpurpose%2F||target:%20_blank|” css=”.vc_custom_1528118119849{border-top-width: 2px !important;border-right-width: 2px !important;border-bottom-width: 2px !important;border-left-width: 2px !important;padding-top: 10px !important;padding-bottom: 10px !important;border-left-color: #ae4768 !important;border-right-color: #ae4768 !important;border-top-color: #ae4768 !important;border-bottom-color: #ae4768 !important;border-radius: 5px !important;}”]Every human being goes through their own struggles and searches for the meaning of life. Sicelo shares the lessons he has learnt from successful failures. Ultimately it all comes down to one thing: Purpose.[/vc_cta][vc_column_text]

Sewing the Seed

Here is a man who painted for 10 years of his life but is only famous for what he painted in the last 3 years. This builds a great argument for preparation. As in splitting a log, where all former axe strokes are wasted, if we do not persist until we strike that final blow, we waste our energy; if we don’t persist and overcome our difficulties.

So as we get to the midway point of the year, and we all continue on our vastly different journeys, it’s important to remember that our gifts and talents are like a muscle. They will only develop through exercise. This means you require preparation and time in order to get the desired results.

EduConnect 2Cents

Whether your year has been a success so far or not, you can use the rest of the year to prepare for success to come. Diana Nyad who swam from Cuba to Florida at age 64 said that what you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals

It is about what you are becoming, therefore, making it crucial to focus on the journey. Remember that we need to have the tenacity to endure the waves of difficulty we might face while on the boat of preparation. This is not an endless trip – it need only be until we reach the proverbial shores of our destiny.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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