You’ll Never Be Ready

A while back the always lovely, and ever vulgar Ashley Ambirge from The Middle Finger Project wrote this

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“Being prepared and being ready are two different things. F*** the first. Run with the second. Preparedness comes w/ experience – never before.” – Ashley Ambirge

It got quite a few retweets and agreements, and while I think Ashley is awesome, I completely disagree. Sorry Ash.

Being prepared and being ready are two different things. You can be prepared as all get out, but, if you’re doing things that matter, things that push your limits, things that are seemingly impossible, it doesn’t matter what you ever do. You’ll never be ready.

That’s why so many people don’t end up doing great things. They’re not ready…and they let that stop them.

Not being ready, isn’t a problem. It means you’re human. No one is ever ready to do something impossible. It’s way too scary, way too difficult and way too far out of your comfort zone to be “ready for”

You can prepare as much as you want, but you will never, ever be ready to do anything that is significantly difficult enough to be worth your time and dedication to doing.

If you’re doing it right, you should never be doing something you’re “ready” to do. Sure, you might do your homework, maybe do some research and have an idea of what you’re getting into, but you’ll never be ready.

Because you’ll run into situations you’ve never, ever could have imagined. You’ll realize:

>> Your homework is just scratching the surface.

>> Your research isn’t relevant.

>> You have no idea what you got yourself into.

It doesn’t matter.




None of it matters.

We’ll never be ready if we keep waiting

For the perfect time to come – Mat Kearney

You’ll never be ready, if you keep waiting for the perfect time to come. Because it won’t. Ever. Never. Never ever ever. Never ever ever ever. You’ll keep waiting and waiting and waiting until you die, when all you really need to do is start. Just start.

When you’re ready to jump off a bridge, at a certain point, you’re prepared as much as you can. You’ve got your harness on, you’ve checked & double checked your connections, and all you have to do is jump and figure out things on the way down.

Things will go wrong.

You’ll jump out of a plane, think you’re strapped into your tandem instructor perfectly find and your goggles will fly off your face and you’ll look like an idiot. But don’t let that stop you from jumping.

You won’t be ready. You’ll never be ready.

Something will go wrong. Do it anyways.

Prepare. Jump. React.  Figure it out on the way down because you’ll never be ready at the top of the bridge.

You can prepare as much as you want, but you won’t be ready to do the impossible until you decide to actually do it. None of us are. It doesn’t matter. Do it anyways.

Oh, and if you are ready for whatever it is you’re about to do, maybe you need to think twice about what you’re doing and take things to the next level.

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  1. says

    Interesting outlook. The way I read Ashley’s tweet was you can be prepared all you want but until you are ready, which differs from preparedness by implying a willingness, then all the preparation in the world is for nothing.

    I can prepare all I want to jump off a bridge by strapping on all the harnesses and checking the bungee cords and making sure my carabiners are locked but if I don’t have that spark of readiness (willing to jump) then I’m never going to do it no matter how much I prepare for it.

    But I can definitely see your point as well that you can get into a situation of perpetual planning and preparedness from which you never escape and never end up doing impossible things. At some point you have to take that leap and just go for it and as you say, “figure it all out on the way down.” Maybe the sweet spot is somewhere in between the two.

    • says

      That’s a great explanation of her view. Good to see it in a new light. I think we’re both talking about the same thing, just describing it in different ways. Thanks for the insight Matt

  2. says

    I think we can be prepared for most things in a general sense (fitness, intelligence, state of calm, virtuous outlook etc.) but once we have a general sense of well being we need to be ready to jump at the challenges that are presented to us. It is at that point where over thinking can be detrimental.

  3. says

    Whether you call it prepared,ready, willing is all semantics to me. Can you go outside your comfort zone to risk failure?

    I’m proud to say I can NOW with inspiration from guys. Like Joel, Steve Kamb, Aron, and others.

    I’m 48, at least 60 lbs overweight with bad knees and back probably from the weight. In the last 3 weeks I’ve cut out coffee(about 400 calories a day with cream/sugar), gatorade(450-I work in the heat), and eliminated diet drinks(funny I know, my wife/son are both diabetic so I made shopping easier for her). I brisk walked 4 miles yesterday, jogged(slowly) 5 miles on Independence Day(fitting-huh), and worked up from 5 minutes a day exercising to 20 so far after working 12 hours in AL/FL heat.

    I don’t own a bike and could only handle 2 laps in the city Olympic pool Friday morn before work but I’m about to sign up for a triathlon THIS. Year.

    I started a blog with no clue and no readers but I love doing it.

    I went to a Survivor tryout and got a laugh out of the film crew.

    I liken my transformation to some cartoon characters:

    I was Eeyore with the attitude like “woe is me, I’m a beast of burden, pile some more of life on me”

    Now I’m FREAKING Tigger. Get out of my way because I’M BOUNCING!

    Every time I take a painful step, every time I struggle and feel tired, NOW I’m thinking YEAH!! No pain, No gain!

    Thanks Joel-sorry to be a comment space hog.

  4. says

    Hi :)
    Waiting to be ready?How do you know that you are ready?
    Is it your feeling or “the facts”?
    You just need to know what do you want and go for it and DO it!
    The phrase: “Golden carriage stops only once in front of you” means, use your chance and possibility you get.Don’t wait for a perfect time and perfect place; it’s just excuse for not doing it.
    P.S. Maybe Ashley wanted to say,that we need to listen to our inside voice whos saying: Do it, and not searching for an “rational”; to being prepare for- which make us to wait!

  5. says

    Preparation can turn into analysis paralysis. You can read and research and google all the live long day, and not actually begin anything. Although Preparation H can make a bad day a bit better.

    ps. I checked out Ashley’s site and signed up. Thanks for introducing us to such awesome peeps.

  6. says

    Totally agree. I’ve been working on adopting this attitude throughout life lately. It’s incredibly liberating.

    There comes a time, in any worthwhile pursuit when we have to say “Fuck it, I’m doing it”.

    I think it’s tied into the pointless need for perfection. People strive to get conditions perfect before they act, but unfortunately, conditions are NEVER perfect.

    Great post.

  7. says

    Joel, you and Ash are so right. If you’re waiting for guaranteed success and absolute assurance that nothing will go wrong, you’ll wait forever.

    My leap of faith last year was getting an expat job, dumping my house, and moving my family to the Philippines. This year, it’s starting a consulting business and taking on a 21k race with flat feet and no running experience. That one should be fun…

    • says

      Awesome story Mike. Check out Matt over . He’s moving to Indonesia with his family this year. You guys might be able to help each other out. Let me know how the race goes. I ran a marathon a few months back after not running my entire life until about 18 months ago. It’s not impossible :) Good luck!

  8. says

    I am planning to go to Australia on one of those Work Holiday Visas by April of next year. Naturally this gives me a lot of time to research and do my homework but the thing is, I am NOT going to know what it will truly be like until I set foot off the plane in an Australian airport for the first time.

    In life, things tend to happen when you are *NOT* ready. That cute girl could come your way when your sleep deprived, haven’t showered in a week and dressed in rags! Ha! Life can do that but it gives the great experiences as well, even if you weren’t ‘ready ‘ for it or not!

    If you feel can’t do anything until your ‘ ready ‘ , you’ll never do anything with your life! Heh, I need to practice that more myself I admit but I’m getting there!

  9. says

    could the fear of being “ready” be related to not being prepared? I remember when I was in college and if I hadn’t study for an exam there was a sense of fear that I was going to do poorly…. when I was prepared and I had study I walked into class with confidence and knew the work had been done and I had put in the hours. So…whatever happened. Happened. I guess we are never really ready but sometimes we are more prepared then others. Interesting points of view. I like it!

    • says

      I would probably call that being “unprepared” but a certain point, once again, we’re just playing with semantics. Simplified, it’s simply: Prepare. JUMP!

  10. says

    I’m a preparation and analysis junkie. It often paralyzes action. So this post is a good kick in the ass. Although I’ll never give up doing my research. I didn’t end up putting enough thought into training for my first half marathon and I think that contributed to my knee injury. But ironically, the reason I sort of just jumped in was I was fed up at how long I’d been hemming and hawing about half marathon training (years!).

    • says

      There’s a fine line between being reckless and being a genius. Especially in athletics, you need to spend enough time with your body to know the difference between pain (which you can work through) and discomfort (which may mean your body is trying to tell you something). Best of luck!

  11. luisito says

    Being Prepared is prerequisite when your Ready for something in order to react purposely in most possible ways you conceived for whatever situation you’re at. When you’re ready but not prepared, I think in this kind of situation, one is so irrational to engage to something.


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