10 Advantages of Being Unprepared


It was dead.

I must have some look about me because I have been approached several times by strangers about it.

They look at me. Some in desperation. Some in frustration. Some in hope.

I know the sound all too well.

The car battery wouldn’t start and there was nothing we could do about it. Well I take that back. We could jump start the vehicle. The thing is that I have a pair of jumper cables I keep in my trunk so I am always prepared for this situation.

I don’t know what it is but when people have a dead battery I happen to be around…

The thing is that being prepared is great for being helpful to others. I usually try to be prepared for almost everything. I was never a Boy Scout but I’ve always liked their motto: “Always Be Prepared”. The thing is though, always being prepared can get tiresome.

Think about eventualities is a brain drain.

There is countless things that could happen and I never know what will happen and when.

People are terrible at predicting the future. People who try to control everything usually are the most frustrated because they haven’t accepted that control is mostly just an illusion. Sure I can influence an outcome and make changes to things that I am responsible for in some cases, but ultimately it is impossible to be in total control.

What can I do instead?

Instead I’ve come up with 10 advantages of being unprepared.

Often times in life we are told that we need more practice. Or should rehearse. Or review. And on and on. Sometimes I can’t or won’t and that is okay. Rather than being worried, here are some good things about not being prepared.

A) Less stress or anxiety

Spending time relaxing or calming down before a big interview or test may have much more positive effects than stressing out about it or worrying what might happen. To be anxious just uses up energy and leaves my beating myself up mentally instead of building myself up.

Deep breathing. Power poses. And not giving a s—t are all ways to chill before a big event. And are helpful if you know you aren’t really prepared anyways.

B) More sleep

I’ve never pulled an “all-nighter”. I love my sleep too much to forgo it for a few more hours of study time. I have seen time and again the advantages of sleeping and having a well rested brain before going in for a final exam.

At the very least I feel good about my life. If I fail it would probably be due to lack of trying up until this crucial point and not because I didn’t reread some sloppy notes one more time.

C) Creativity

When I am not prepared I have to get creative. Fast. Thinking on the fly or “winging it” will be a source of creative responses. Sure having a polished answer might seem nice. But it can also seem canned and inauthentic.

D) Authenticity

When I am unprepared I am more real. I don’t have anything else to go on. I have to pull from what I got inside me and show it. Good, bad or ugly.

E) Built in excuse

Not preparing give me a built in excuse. Not that I should make excuses. But I feel better when I fail if I have the excuse that I didn’t do everything I could to make it better.

Realistically I need to have a reason for things and even if this isn’t the real reason it makes a good story.

F) Pressure creates diamonds

The pressure of being unprepared can lead to diamonds. Mine are more like diamonds in the rough. I like to think that having procrastinated leads me to my best work. That is probably not true but it helps sooth my conscience.

G) Uniqueness 

Following a plan or doing a repetitive practice allows for growth and development to shine through in producing high quality work through execution of fundamentals and sound strategy.

If that boring throw caution to the wind and just be unprepared.

Everyone is uniquely unprepared when it comes to whatever life challenges they are facing. This adds interest to life. Or at least my life…

H) Humor

Being unprepared can lead to moments of comedic gold. Sitcoms are rife with scenes where the characters are unprepared and then something uncomfortable or awkward happens that is funny. And occasionally TV shows do mimic reality.

My life has had much more funny things happen when things go off with a hitch.

I) Inspiration

Besides creativity, being unprepared can lead to inspiration. Without having something prescribed for what I intend to do I have the freedom to follow an idea. There is a spark of inspiration that keeps me going and wanting to discover what else is out there.

What other ways can I look at a situation?

What good can come from not “having it all together”?

J) Improvise 

I touched on “winging it” above. But I wanted to include improvisation as a separate benefit from both creativity and the rest. Most people I see go about their day in a routine way.

Nothing wrong with that.

But when something disrupts it they seem to get all in a flutter. Things spiral out of control. “You ruined my dinner/day/birthday/party, etc.” Well instead of letting a high probability hiccup ruin my day/life etc… I just roll with it.

Being willing and able to improvise can save a lot of grief.

And that’s what I have to do when someone stops me and ask, “Do you have any jumper cables?”


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P.S. Want more about my journey?

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Go to sarahpaine.com for more great perspectives to rethink life!



Check out Claudia Altucher’s book Become An Idea Machine: Because Ideas Are The Currency Of The 21st Century:


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