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The Power of Anticipation - by John Lewis Jenkins

The Power of Anticipation - by John Lewis Jenkins

Permission to use this article for publication is granted provided the bio/contact information at the end of the article is included and no editing of the original is done.

When traveling at the speed of sound things happen so fast we'd be in a ball of fire on the desert floor before we knew what happened if we tried to respond to problems!?

-- Yeager-era test pilot

A friend of mine used the following story to convey the importance of advanced preparation in a very powerful way.

"My father worked on the technical crew where the first exercises to break the sound barrier were being carried out. The pilots in this program were the best that could be found - anywhere. It was the Chuck Yeager era. My father's discussions of his job thrilled me and I thought I'd died and gone to heaven the day he invited me to visit his place of work.

From dad's stories I had a mental picture of the pilots as young, virile, athletic types. Instead, I was introduced to "old men." Nothing like the images I had conjured up in my pre-teen mind. (They were actually in their thirties or early forties - but I expected men at what I felt was their peak age: early twenties!) How could these "grandfatherly?types stand the physical rigor that was demanded by their grueling employment?

Being young and lacking in social graces, I found myself sharing these feelings with one of the pilots. My words came out something like, 'How come they have old guys like you flying these planes?' The power of this "old man's" answer changed my perspective on life.

An aircraft, he concurred, traveling at or beyond the speed of sound requires swift and nimble control for extremely complex maneuvering - especially to avoid contact with other objects, like the ground! That very fact, he explained, eliminated the possibility of successfully reacting to an adverse situation. Reaction, by definition, is an action that comes as a result of another action. These pilots, as ancient as they seemed to a 10 year old boy, were armed with something much more powerful than the ability to react. Their primary strength was the knowledge and wisdom that comes from experience (which translated to years of practice and explained their age!)

Then, in an effort to burn an indelible image of his explanation on my young mind, he said, 'When traveling at the speed of sound things happen so fast we'd be in a ball of fire on the desert floor before we knew what happened if we tried to respond to problems! We spend hundreds of hours learning, listening, watching, feeling and then practicing, practicing, practicing. Our goal is to know EVERYTHING that could possibly happen and what we should do - before problems occur.'"

The lesson my friend learned early in his youth from those long-ago airmen is an illustration for us to use in our daily lives. If we prepare ourselves to anticipate what to do in a given situation, we'll not only be prepared to deal with it appropriately but in all likelihood we'll handle it faster and better than if we waited to respond until after the event occurs.

Each of us has the inherent capacity to learn from our own experiences as well as from the experiences of others. Furthermore, we are capable of translating those experiences into lessons that pertain to our own lives. The best way to improve our anticipation is by regularly asking the following questions:

"How does that experience translate to what I do?"

"What will I do if that situation happens to me?"

"How can I apply the lesson(s) learned to my life or my job?"

The wisdom that comes from the answers to these questions will enable us to maximize our success in whatever we undertake.

?Copyright 2000 John L. Jenkins








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Authors Biography:

John L. Jenkins is a husband, father of five children, and a manager research and development facility in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He has over 15 years experience in developing and implementing various types of training programs. He has over 14 years of volunteer experience teaching and counseling youth and adults through religious and community affiliations. He is a member and club officer in Toastmasters International.

Johns greatest passion is public speaking and freelance writing on personal development and performance improvement topics. Speaking and writing topics include: Self Worth, The Power of Language, Goal Setting, Managing Change, Using Imagination, Gaining Vision, Finding Your Passion, Continuous Learning, Strengthening Desire, The Need for Hope, and Integrity.

Please email at jenkfam@cyberhighway.com

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