You Can't Fake Being Prepared
June 21, 2018
Author: Bianca Yang
There are likely 1% of people in the world who are so awesome that they can fake it, but this post is for the 99% of people who are mediocre.
Every time I have failed to prepare for a presentation or a meeting, I have looked like a fool. I think every time I have been irresponsible in such a way, the people who were judging my work have been lenient. They gave me a better than expected grade (C to B range) or didn’t probe me too hard in the post-presentation comments or gave me a warm smile and said they hoped I could get the work properly done by the next meeting. Of course, no one is fooled by the soft passes. Everybody, including myself, knew I was underprepared. It’s very hard to fake being prepared.
The number of times I have been given a soft pass on worse than mediocre work is alarming. What is more alarming, however, is how brazenly idiotic I have been in repeatedly taking advantage of others’ leniency. I have, to put it more blatently, been lying.
I am absolutely ashamed of my behavior. I would like to be the morally upright and respectable person who does what she says she will do. I want to get more done in my life. I want to become someone who adds value to the world.
I am currently on a journey of building greater discipline so I can pursue with greater effectiveness the various directions I want my life to go in. My shortcomings in fulfilling commitments are high on my list of things I need to resolve to live a more ideal life. Here are some of my ideas for resolving this horrible, horrible habit I’ve developed:
- Work in shifts. The Pomodoro method is a well-known technique that I think I will start tinkering with.
- Procrastination is a sign that I need to think more or that I need to take a break.
- Exercise is a great way to rejuvenate my brain. 10, 20-minute walks are sufficient.
- Commit to getting something done each day. For example, write one sentence every day, even if it’s 2am, my eyes are bleary, and I just want to waste another hour watching “try not to get satisfied” videos on YouTube (I hate those videos).
- Just do it. Literally just sit down and start doing it. No excuses, no thinking too hard about it, no more delaying (拖延）.
I will post back later about my progress on this vice of mine. Now that I am resolved to be a person of her word, I promise that this updated progress post will show up by the end of July.
Note: Those who are judging the work of someone (or a team) who (which) is not producing sufficient results should use the Five Whys  to understand why the performance has been so poor. Make a decision on how to go forward that is consistent with the work culture you want to build. Firing, training, and implementing new policies are all reasonable courses of action to take.
 Read James Altucher’s Choose Yourself. Specifically, read the section titled “Honesty Makes You More Money”. Really, you should just read James’ entire book. The first pass won’t take you long and you’ll want to reread it multiple times to really make sure the message sinks in.
 You can find this on Wikipedia or in Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit.