When Are We Ever Ready To Do Anything?

Listening to a radio programme recently, a caller was talking about how they had been ‘preparing’ to have children for a few years and that now they were ‘ready’. It was all part of their plan. And then another caller followed saying that they just had children without a plan and had felt incredibly unprepared, but that everything had worked out fantastically well.

It got me thinking about whether we are in fact ever ‘ready’ to do anything? For example, to start the business we’ve always wanted? Change jobs? Emigrate? Travel round the world? Or have children?

We can all prepare, save and plan but how will we know we are ‘ready’?

If you wanted to travel the world, would it simply be about how much money you had to pay for it? When do you know you are ready to change jobs? When you go to work and your day is so bad you come home in tears? What will need to have happened for you make that decision? What’s stopping you starting whatever it is now and perhaps learning and getting better on the way instead of waiting for that ‘one day’ or ‘perfect moment’ to arrive.

17th century Dutch nobleman. Calm yourselves! He’s taken…

There’s a lovely story I recall reading about in Alain De Botton’s book ‘The Art Of Travel’ where a 17th century Dutch nobleman had a room in his house dedicated to England. It was full of memorabilia, paintings and books. His ‘England room’ and he loved it.

After a few years and as he was a gentleman of means, he thought he would visit the England he loved, so very soon he was on his way looking forward to seeing the England of his dreams.



However, en route he started thinking that the reality may not be like the England in his room. Maybe it wouldn’t be as beautiful as his paintings nor as interesting as his books and so, he turned round and went back home. Back to his home. And his England room. He was happy with the country he had created in his mind and wasn’t interested in ‘spoiling’ this with the reality.

My point here is that there can be a lot of social pressure to make our dreams happen and that if we don’t, we have somehow failed. However, what’s important is to clarify what you want to happen and what you are prepared to do to make it happen.

Some people are simply happy with the idea of something. A dream. And that is a lovely thing. If it works for you as it did for our 17th century nobleman, but what do you do if you want to make this dream real?

The Dream – Salvador Dali style

Of course there are many things for which we can prepare. For example, driving lessons for a driving test, but sometimes, we use not being ‘ready’ as an excuse to not only not do something now, but not ever.



Surely, if we really wanted to make something happen, we would do whatever we could to make it happen. Yes, procrastination can be an issue, sometimes things don’t go our way and not everything is possible (for example, I’d love to be 6’2 and that’s not happening anytime soon), but we can take steps towards something, however small they may seem at first.


People often wait for the ‘perfect’ moment, but I don’t  think it exists. In fact, I believe it’s a reason or even an excuse for some people to choose not to do something until it’s supposedly perfect. If you don’t take a risk and do something, nothing will get done and so you can’t lose anything – the infamous procrastinator’s path of least resistance
“Imperfect progress today or perfect progress tomorrow?” @leadershipfreak
Whether you are ready or not and whether you want to enjoy dreaming your dream or actually realising it, what’s important is to do something for you that works for you and you alone regardless of external pressure. It can be difficult, but surely it’s the only forward, isn’t it?

14 thoughts on “When Are We Ever Ready To Do Anything?

Add yours

  1. Your post reminds me of a short story. Two monks, one short and the other tall of course. They were ready to go on a journey to pay homage to a faraway temple. The short one started building boat and collecting supplies. The tall one just gathered a walking stick and a bowl and set off on foot. A year later, the tall one came back with Buddhism teachings. The short one was still trying to get ready for the trip.


  2. My blog is an outlet for me to document the journeys I take to pursue my dreams, and I recently did a post about why I set my blog up and as I was writing it there were a few occasions when I thought about what my plans are in order to pursue my dreams. And after reading this, it clarified to me that there isn’t a ‘perfect’ time, it is important to take risks and confirmed what I touched upon in my post: I have to make things happen.

    Thank you for an insightful post :-).


  3. Your post reminded me of the old saying, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” I love how you made it personal, though, and the other examples you included (such as the Dutch nobleman with the English room). You also triggered me to ask myself that very important question: “What’s stopping you?” Thank you.


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