Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity…

We live in an instant messaging microwave oven society. There is a prevailing mentality that success is a result of luck. In our lottery culture, people who work hard are often seen as “suckers” who don’t know the score.

But hard work alone will not lead to success. The masses of mediocrity are full of folks work themselves almost to the bone, but never seem to achieve success. The proverb above points out that the path to prosperity is a two step process.

Good Planning

The first step to prosperity is good planning. An adage I was taught early on in my career is this: If we fail to plan, then we plan to fail. We’ve got to invest some effort in developing a road map of where we want to go and how we intend to get there.

Embarking on a journey is a great analogy because it involves many of the same general concepts that our success plan would require. Imagine if someone decided to take a trip completely without a plan. If, when they walk through the front door of their house to leave on their trip they have not even thought about where they want to go, what method of transportation they are going to use to get there, how long they are going to stay, what they are going to do when they get there, or when they are going to return, then odds are they aren’t going to have a very successful trip.

Here is are some things we should include in our plans to make them as good as possible so that we ultimately get to our prosperity point:

  • What we want to achieve.
  • How long do we expect it to take.
  • What resources are will we need to allocate.
  • What structure should we apply to make it happen.
  • Which action steps will be required to accomplish our goals.
  • What is the best order for those action steps.

There is one thing to keep in mind when making our plans. Remember that a plan is simply a guideline. It is not a set of inviolate rules.

Many people resist planning because they feel it will stifle their creativity or ability to adapt on the fly. And it is true a ridged, inflexible plan may very well have that kind of effect.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. When I was in the Navy, one of the jobs I has was as the Schedules Officer for the squadron. Part of my responsibility was to write the daily flight schedule. It was my job to assign the various flight crew to the planes and figure out which missions to send which planes and aircrew on. I had to weigh out things like training needs of each of the aircrew, mission needs our squadron was assigned, which aircrew were available to fly, which planes were operational, and much more.

Every day I had to sort out the next day’s flight schedule. My running joke was that I had no idea what was going to happen the next day, you know, not being God and all. But I was fairly certain what was not going to happen: what I had written on the schedule. Invariably someone would get sick, a plane would break down, a mission would get scrubbed, or something else would be changed.

The flight schedule, our squadron’s plan, was simply a standard to deviate from. We knew that going in.

But imagine what it would have been like if we didn’t take the time to write the schedule. No one, from the airplane mechanics, the weapons techs, the aircrew, or even the other squadrons in the air wing would have a clue what our intentions were. How would we make sure all our aircrew got the training that they needed? How successful would we have been at achieving our mission?

It would have been chaos.

Instead, partly as a result of good planning, our squadron achieved excellence awards and was recognized as a highly successful organization.

But all the planning in the world will accomplish nothing unless the second part of the equation is factored in.

Hard Work

The recognition we received was only partly due to our superior planning. Another huge factor was that all of the people from the Commanding Officer on down worked incredibly hard to ensure we did the best job we possibly could.

Hard work is a lost value in our entitlement society today. So many folks seem to have this mistaken idea that they are somehow entitled to success and prosperity. Somehow there is this twisted mindset that life owes them prosperity. One of the easiest ways to sell a book these days is to promise a new way to get right quickly with no effort at all required. People will buy the book in droves. Most times the only one who actually gets rich is the author of the book!

People desperately want to get rich without putting forth any effort. I’ve got news for them.

The world doesn’t work that way.

It takes hard work consistently applied over an extended period of time to achieve any kind of lasting prosperity. That reality is unpopular today. I doubt I could sell many books with that message! But unpopularity doesn’t make it any less true.

Are you interested in what the rest of the proverb says? Check it out.

Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.

If we insist on chasing after the next new fad, jumping from one get rich quick scheme to another, we will end up broke.

But if we instead invest some concentrated effort to develop a good plan (knowing that it is flexible if we need to change it) and commit to working the plan as hard as we can, stick with it for the long haul, then we will know prosperity.


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