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Practice Everything. Be Ready for Anything.

Daily Stoic Emails

You go through your entire pre-speaking routine and then moments before you’re scheduled to address the group, there’s a last-minute change, and you don’t go on for another thirty minutes. You’re in the middle of pitching your company to a group of investors and Zoom freezes. You are throwing a no-hitter and as you walk out to the mound for the ninth inning, lightning strikes, and you have to turn and head into the locker room to wait out the weather. 

We’ve all had our routines disrupted. We’ve had our plans dashed. We’ve been in the zone then forced out of it. This is why the Stoics had their premeditatio malorum practices. They wanted to, as Seneca said, practice for every and any possible disruption–be it exile or war or shipwreck or just a travel delay.

A couple weeks ago, NBC Sports analyst Tony Dungy, himself a Super Bowl champion as both a player and a coach, spoke during the 75-minute weather delay between the Bills and the Chiefs. He speculated about what the two teams would be doing and should be doing as they wait for play to resume. Then he said,

“Believe it or not, Denny Green used to practice this. When I worked for him, we had practices where he’d stop it for twenty-five or thirty minutes and then get started again and see who could adjust and get ready for everything.”

The pros prepare. The greats get ready for everything. Martellus Bennett, who told us on the Daily Stoic podcast the New England Patriots even practiced this before the 2017 Super Bowl, actually going through the motions of the longer halftime so they wouldn’t be thrown off by or get cold from the extra 15 or so minutes. 

How good are you if you need everything to go perfectly? How great are you if you can’t handle change? Practice everything. Be ready for anything.