We often times think that success comes by discovery, luck or being in the right place at the right time. I was thinking about this today, when I read a news article about Elon Musk. We were born at the same time, we both founded companies about the same time and we both tried to make pitches to people with money at around the same time. His raised the money, sold the company to Compaq and I did not raise the money and instead stayed working in my business for another 12 years. Sure he had opportunity and perhaps was in an area of technology that was more attractive at the time. However, I had plenty of opportunity, I was never lacking in that during the 90’s and early 2000’s. So what was the difference, really?
The preparation, that is the key.
True, Elon Musk is a pretty smart person. He is much smarter than I, am sure. However, I am pretty capable myself, or at least I think so. I really do not think it is smarts, what I really think it is, the preparation. Based on what I have read on his early years, and even his work ethic now, he out works anyone around him. He was prepared to run and get investment for a company, probably by really preparing for that occurrence. The difference is that I was completely unprepared at the time. I worked hard, but I also know there were times when I did not. There were times I got distracted pursuing other things, or choosing some comforts, or risk averse choices. True, I chose to have a family, which I will always be grateful but honestly, I worked hard enough even then. I just was ill prepared for running and attracting investors in my business. I had no idea what to do, or how to do it. The simple fact of the matter is that Elon Musk was prepared for the opportunity when it came and I was not.
That is not the only comparison, but I have to believe, or at least my ego won’t let me think otherwise that the real thing that seperates most of us from achieving great things is our willingness to put in the time. The time needed to prepare. Those that are prepared, will be ready when the opportunity comes.
When the bridegroom comes knocking, will you be out somewhere trimming your lamp or will you be at the ready? Maybe that is not what Jesus’ intended with his parable, but then again, maybe that is a truth, and principle that we can apply to many areas of our lives. Opportunity comes to all, but only the prepared can respond.