Prepare Yourself for Opportunity
In 1989 I was offered the opportunity to travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to work on a movie entitled “Exposure”, which involved knife-fighting. The opportunity arose because my friend and martial art training partner, Jeff Imada, who is one of the top stunt action coordinators in the business, was offered the job but had to turn it down due to other film commitments. When the producers asked him to find someone to take his place, he called me because he felt I could handle the job. Four weeks later I found myself in Rio de Janeiro, working with Walter Salles Jr., one of Brazil’s top directors, and the film’s two main stars, Peter Coyote and Tcheky Karyo. My responsibilities included teaching the actors how to fight safely with knives, choreographing knife-training and knife-fighting film sequences, even writing some dialogue for the film. The situation I found myself in was a little scary, because although I had done fight action choreography on several television shows, this was my first time working on a major film. But thanks to years of my training I was well-prepared. It was a thrilling experience to design the training and fighting sequences, rehearse them with the actors, then shoot the sequences and see the results on the big screen. I had a great time working on the project and it makes me happy to know that the film is still considered one of the best movies that deal with the subject of knife-fighting.
There’s an old saying that states, “Success is the place in the road when preparation and opportunity meet.” Opportunities abound all around us. Some of them arise from outside circumstances, while others are created by our own actions. In either case, if we wish to be successful, we need to be aware of the opportunities around us and prepared to take advantage of them.
There are four major types of preparation: physical, technical, mental, and strategic/tactical. Physical preparation deals with developing the requisite level of physicality or fitness that is needed to either participate in a particular activity or achieve a certain goal. If, for example, your goal is to become a firefighter, you must possess the appropriate level of physical condition to pass the fitness portion of the entry exam. Technical preparation deals with such things as developing specific skills, techniques and actions that are used in a particular activity, endeavor, or profession. If, for example, your goal is to become a concert pianist, your first step is to prepare yourself by developing the technical skills of playing the piano, learning to read music, etc. Mental preparation deals with preparing ourselves mentally and emotionally to handle situations, take on challenges, etc. Examples of mental preparation include warming-up and attuning before engaging in a particular sporting activity, or developing the proper mindset before taking a challenging test at school. Strategic/tactical preparation deals with formulating a plan of action you will use to accomplish a particular goal or objective. If, for example, your goal is to become a political leader in the city in which you live, you need to develop and follow some kind of plan of action to get there.
Everything starts with preparation. So commit yourself to developing the physical, mental, and emotional skills and qualities you need to succeed. Don’t miss the boat because of inadequate preparation. Prepare yourself to meet opportunity.
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