By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. – Benjamin Franklin
Whenever I want to be really lazy and avoid doing major things I remember the above quote. It’s so simple yet so true, by not preparing for something you are setting yourself up for failure. Emphasis on “you”.
So many people don’t prepare for things which are paramount to their success like assignments, interviews, creative projects…the list goes on. Eventually they see the fruits of their labour, complain about how they’re not going anywhere in life and nothing is working for them yet they’re putting little or no work in. Even though they set themselves up for their own downfall they start blaming others for their results, don’t learn from their past and the cycle continues.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Overtime, I’ve noticed the extent of work and effort individuals think they’ve completed is repeatedly embellished in their minds. What I mean is, people are usually in denial of the amount of work they did previously and believe they put in their all, when in reality they haven’t.
People say, “I tried my best, I don’t know what went wrong” forgetting the fact they left things until last minute. Moreover, when you ask them if they did XYZ which is the necessary steps required of them, they say “oh I couldn’t because *insert poor excuse blaming everyone else and timing here*”. Clearly the failure to devote your time and efforts wisely has caused you to neglect your priorities. Stop blaming others and start holding yourself accountable for your own actions, it’s the only way you can move forward.
The best way to become more accountable is by remembering:
- You are responsible for your own success.
- Your thoughts combined with your actions control your future.
- If you really want something you have to get it yourself.
- By blaming others, you’re only fooling yourself.
I think lack of accountability is caused by lack of focus because when you’re focused you have a “tunnel vision”. You don’t get distracted about what’s happening around you because your fixated on striving towards the light at the end of the tunnel.
When I was 16/17 my priorities were all over the place and any problems I had I swept under the rug because I hoped my life would sort itself out. Long story short, it didn’t.
After some sobering self-reflection following the summer after my 18th birthday I started taking responsibility for my actions because I needed things to change. I started by doing things related to my goals and ceased waiting for life to work out on it’s own because it evidently doesn’t. Like I said in my consistency post, “life only changes when you do.”
When I started working towards my goals and stopped making excuses for myself especially when it came to assignments/studying, I excelled. Trust me I was over the moon—still am and I still persevere. Now, none of this would have been achieved if I didn’t take a hard look at myself and was held personally liable for my behaviour.
If I didn’t do this I would still be pretending everything was okay, which is what you should never do. I know if I was as focused then as I am now, my life would be so different, but that’s the thing about hindsight I already know the outcome of my actions and I know what I could have done differently. So I’ve stopped beating myself up over it and focused on the future because I can’t change the past .
To help me focus I made lists in the back of my notebooks bullet-pointing my top goals and when I wanted to achieve them by. This gave me a visual reminder of what I planned to do. Recently I bought a new goals journal from Paperchase where I answer the following questions:
- What are my goals?
- How I plan to achieve it?
- What is my inspiration for doing it?
- The outcome.
I researched the things I wanted to achieve then worked from there. I prioritized my time for the things I needed to do and didn’t overwork myself by over-cramming because this can make any task daunting. Finally I was honest about what I wanted to achieve , why it was important and the consequences, so that helped me stay motivated.
Accountability, focus and failing to prepare all go hand in hand. If you lack focus you won’t hold yourself accountable for your actions as you’ll always be distracted by what’s around you. Concentrate on your goals and remember you are responsible for your success. Once done you will be able to drive forward and prepare for things you say you want to achieve.