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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Planning and Preparation are the Keys to Success in Life

This post begins with a recollection of an experience I had when I was about 10 or 11 years old.

It was Opening Day of Duck Season the next day and I went to bed with the anticipation of going hunting with my Dad.

At 4:00 the next morning, we awoke and I dressed and sleepily gathered a few things and followed my Dad to the truck.  It was a frigid November morning on the Texas Gulf Coast, one of the coldest on record with early morning temps below freezing.

Daybreak found us paddling our small duck boat through thin ice, putting out decoys and then settling into a flooded duck blind in water which I immediately found was deeper than my knee boots.

Let me just cut to the chase here and summarize what happened.

My Dear Dad who is the hardest working SOB I know but the Poorest Planner and Organizer I have ever met, had taken his Young Son on his first Duck Hunt with No Water, No Food, Inadequate Cold Weather Clothes and little else representing the Minimum Acceptable Gear, Equipment and Supplies for such a Challenging Adventure.

We didn't get back from that hunt till 4:00 pm that evening and when I came in the House and was greeted by my Mother, I was weak, white as a ghost and about to pass out from lack of food and water and general exposure to freezing temps all day.

Let's just say my Dad got an ass chewing from my Mom that I still remember to this day.

But it was an important Day in My Life, because it taught me several important principles that I use in my Life to this Day Every Day:
  1. You are Responsible for You - Don't Rely on Anyone Else for Your Comfort or Happiness in Life.
  2. If it's Worth Doing, it's worth Doing Right.
  3. Doing Anything Worth Doing Requires Thought, Planning and Preparation.
  4. The Best Way to Capture Thought, Planning and Preparation is with a LIST!
So for the next week, I thought about my Opening Day Duck Hunting experience and I started a list of things that both Me and My Dad would need to prepare for and enjoy the rigors of an Outdoor Experience:
  • Food - Sandwiches, Biscuits, Meat - Cold Weather satisfying food.
  • Water - at least a gallon.
  • Coffee - Hot Coffee in a Thermos.
  • Chest Waders
  • Warm socks and a couple of extra pair in case the first ones get wet.
  • Waterproof cold weather gloves - 2 pairs of them.
  • Warm Hat
  • Face mask
  • Hunting vest with a "Backpack" type game bag to carry all the things I needed immediate at hand.
  • Camo netting to cover the duck blind.
  • Sharp knife
  • Etc. Etc.
You get the picture.  And as the week progressed, I gathered many of these things together in a corner of my room.

The night before I spent an hour cooking sausage patties and bacon and toasting bread and making yummy sandwiches that I enclosed in foil.

The morning of the hunt I got up an extra hour early and made an extra pot of coffee and a quart of hot chocolate and filled 2 large thermoses with steaming goodness to sustain me and my Dad through our hunting day.

Needless to say, that 2nd hunt was much different from the first.  

We came back to the House having braved the Cold Weather and with a String of Ducks that we cleaned and gave to my Mother to make her incredible Cajun Duck Gumbo.

We were Prepared and the Hunt was a Great Success.

Not only did I have a Wonderful Experience but I learned a Life Lesson.

To This Day, I begin my day with a Cup of Hot Coffee and a Blank Sheet of Paper.

And by the end of my 2nd cup of Coffee, the Sheet of Paper is filled with my Plan of the Day.

And as my Daughter and Son know, every Great Adventure I have taken them on - from Deer Hunting Trips to fishing on the Surfside Jetties to weeklong backpacking trips in the Bear-filled Backwoods of Yellowstone begins with......

A List.

A culmination and combination of experiences, knowledge and equipment that ensure that I and those I am responsible for are.....

Set Up for Success.

We owe it to ourselves and our family to thoughtfully Plan and Prepare for Each Day and Each Adventure in Life.

It is part of the Anticipation and Fun of doing anything worthwhile and is the best way of showing you care enough about Yourself and those around you to....

Plan and Prepare for Success.


  1. Wow - amazed you still read. Thanks for the positive comment.