The following is a portion of an excellent editorial written by Brett McKay that he posted in his blog ‘The Art of Manliness’.
Preparation – not Paranoia: While you may never have to fight off an armed attacker or save someone from drowning in a river, there’s a 100% probability that every day you’re going to need the qualities of courage, discipline, and resilience to deal with life’s little annoyances, lead your family, and excel in your career. Desiring such qualities, and thus studying and training for them is the most rational thing is the world.
If there’s one thing one should be paranoid about, it’s living a life in which one never develops one’s full capacities as a man (woman).
‘Readiness’ shouldn’t be thought of merely as a defensive stance – rather as an offensive one as well. You don’t prepare yourself only for emergencies, but also for opportunities — which are just as hard to see coming as threats! If you’re not ready to seize an opportunity for growth the moment it materializes, it often never comes your way again.
When Theodore Roosevelt was president, the only thing besides a portrait he hung in his executive office in the White House was the poem “Opportunity” by John James Ingalls:
Master of human destinies am I
Fame, love and fortune on my footsteps wait.
Cities and fields I walk; I penetrate
Deserts and seas remote, and passing by
Hovel and mart and palace, soon or late
I knock unbidden once at every gate;
If sleeping, wake; if feasting, rise before
I turn away. It is the hour of fate.
And they who follow me reach every state
Mortals desire, and conquer every foe
Save death: But those who doubt or hesitate,
Condemned to failure, penury and woe,
Seek me in vain and uselessly implore—
I answer not, and I return no more.