A few weeks ago, I was driving Laura’s family’s green Mercury Mystique back to her father’s office. Laura’s brother Carlos was coming back into town, back from a year in Iraq, and I was leaving the car for him. Something caught my eye in the compartment below the radio, that little shelf for nick-nacks. It was his basic bio info card from MIT Sloan. I looked it over, it had things like: Your undergraduate school, your major, jobs you’ve held, activities, sports, hobbies, languages etc. Then I got to one in the middle, “Word that best describes you,” and Carlos had written “Ready.” I smiled in agreement. I let it rattle around in my brain, bounce off the corners, clanging and jangling and knocking about.
How few of us are ready – really ready for anything, let alone a year in Iraq. Let’s not put the bar too high, though, shall we? Ready is a state, not of flaccid inactivity, like a garden hose waiting to be filled with water. Ready does not imply inactivity, waitfullness, standby status, or lack of will. Mohammad Ali said it best,
“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”
Bruce Lee had a similar mantra:
“Do not be tense, just be ready, not thinking but not dreaming, not being set but being flexible. It is being “wholly” and quietly alive, aware and alert, ready for whatever may come.”
Let your state of inaction be one guided by the possibility of movement in any direction. When the time for action comes, let it be swift, precise and guided by knowledge, training, wisdom, and purpose.