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So many opportunities have come to me lately, and I have been able to seize them because I was prepared.

Of course, the most obvious of my preparation has been educational, but there have been other ways I was prepared, too.

As I contemplated the theme: Preparation (is this actually a character trait?) I found this talk that I thought was insightful.

Obviously, there are many other ways in which an individual should prepare themselves.

A prepared individual is prepared socially.

Be careful to go to places where there is a good environment, where you won’t be faced with temptation.

A wise father said to his son, “If you ever find yourself in a place where you shouldn’t ought to be, get out!” Good advice for all of us.

A prepared person dresses appropriately to show respect for society in public and for themselves.

The way an individual dresses sends messages about themselves to others and often influences the way they and others act.

(see Dress for Success)

Dress in such a way as to bring out the best in yourself and those around you. Avoid extremes in clothing and appearance, including tattoos and piercings.

Everyone needs good friends. Your circle of friends will greatly influence your thinking and behavior, just as you will theirs. When you share common values with your friends, you can strengthen and encourage each other. Treat everyone with kindness and dignity.

A prepared individually is prepared ethically.

The oft-repeated adage is ever true: “Honesty [is] the best policy.” 1.

(see honesty on Character 3 page).

A prepared individual lives as he or she teaches and as he or she believes. They are honest with others. They are honest with themselves. They are honest by habit and as a matter of course.

When a difficult decision must be made, he or she never asks him or herself, “What will others think?” but rather, “What will I think of myself?”

For some, there will come the temptation to dishonor a personal standard of honesty. In a business law class at the university I attended, I remember that one particular classmate never prepared for the class discussions. I thought to myself, “How is he going to pass the final examination?”

I discovered the answer when he came to the classroom for the final exam on a winter’s day wearing on his bare feet only a pair of sandals.

I was surprised and watched him as the class began. All of our books had been placed upon the floor, as per the instruction.

He slipped the sandals from his feet; and then, with toes that he had trained and had prepared with glycerin, he skillfully turned the pages of one of the books which he had placed on the floor, thereby viewing the answers to the examination questions.

He received one of the highest grades in that course on business law. But the day of reckoning came.

Later, as he prepared to take his comprehensive exam, for the first time the dean of his particular discipline said, “This year I will depart from tradition and will conduct an oral, rather than a written, test.”

Our favorite trained-toe expert found that he had his foot in his mouth on that occasion and failed the exam.

A prepared individual is prepared communicatively.


How you speak and the words you use tell much about the image you choose to portray. Use language to build and uplift those around you.

Profane, vulgar, or crude language and inappropriate or off-color jokes are offensive to many. Never misuse the name of God or Jesus Christ.

I even teach my children to not use terms such as gee, golly, or gosh, as these are derivatives’ of God. I also teach them to never make fun of other religions or say belittling things about religious topics.

Whatever you read, listen to, or watch makes an impression on you.

Don’t be afraid to walk out of a movie, turn off a television set, or change a radio station if what’s being presented does not meet high moral standards.

In short, if you have any question about whether a particular movie, book, or other form of entertainment is appropriate, don’t see it, don’t read it, and don’t participate.

A prepared individual is prepared physically.

It is our responsibility to keep our bodies clean and pure.

Hard drugs, wrongful use of prescription drugs, alcohol, coffee, tea, and tobacco products destroy your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

Any form of alcohol is harmful to one’s spirit and one’s body. Tobacco can enslave a person, weaken their lungs, and shorten their life.

(See self-mastery on Character 2).

A prepared individual is prepared mentally.

Music can be used to educate, edify, inspire, and unite. However, music can, by its tempo, beat, intensity, and lyrics, dull your spiritual sensitivity.

A prepared person cannot afford to fill their minds with unworthy music or thoughts.

David O. McKay, advised, “I implore you to think clean thoughts.” He then made this significant declaration of truth: “Every action is preceded by a thought. If we want to control our actions, we must control our thinking.”

A prepared person fills their mind with good thoughts, and then their actions will be proper.

(see the THINKING section on my Critical Thinking page and the Rules for life of George Washington on my Etiquette page).

A prepared individual will be able to echo in truth the line from Tennyson spoken by Sir Galahad: “My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure.” 2.

A prepared person has the spiritual strength to render service, though I would also argue that frequent selfless service brings strength and prepares an individual.

The idea and basis of this is from the talk: “Preparation Brings Blessings” by Thomas S. Monson, (April 3, 2010)

1. Miguel de Cervantes, in John Bartlett, comp., Familiar Quotations, 14th ed. (1968), 197.

2. Alfred Lord Tennyson, in Familiar Quotations, 647.

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