The Will to Prepare

I recently had the opportunity to hear Larry Echo Hawk speak. Mr. Echo Hawk is a former Idaho Attorney General and served as the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs under the Obama administration from 2009 to 2012. 

Mr. Echo Hawk shared an experience he had while playing football for Brigham Young University. Mr. Echo Hawk’s defensive coach was LaVell Edwards who recently passed away. Coach Edwards taught Mr. Echo Hawk the following idea:

It is not the will to win that matters, rather the will to prepare.

It was obvious during the remarks that Coach Edwards had a major impact on the trajectory of Mr. Echo Hawk’s life. This lesson on mindset and valuation of personal action was part of that.

Target and Destination

I recently read an analogy about archery. Learning to be a master archer involves a positioned target and the time/effort to learn to hit it. The author wrote “Shooting first and drawing the target afterward may seem a little absurd, but sometimes we ourselves mirror that very behavior.” This is the exact opposite of true preparation, leaving our result to wherever the wind blows it with little to no forethought on the why or the what.

Preparation is focusing not only on the end but on effective and efficient means to achieving that end. It is not enough to desire to travel to some far off destination, you have to arrange travel plans to make the journey, set your life in order at home so you can leave, and have accommodations and supplies to succeed when you get there. Isn’t that what traveling is, focusing on means to get to an end? It should be the same with any important aspect of our life.


Preparation is essentially an investment. Money, time, mental processing, anything that can be done today to make tomorrow more successful, more survivable, or more what we want it to be. Preparation can create familiarity and mastery of known future actions or requirements. It can reduce unforeseen variables and increase control. Willing yourself to take action now in line with some future obligation or event is how we succeed.