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May 20, 2017

A Lesson From ‘Have Space Suit — Will Travel’

In the classic novel, Have Space Suit–Will Travel, Robert Heinlein emphasizes (and in a number of his novels) preparedness. Read closely:

“‘Luck’ is a question-begging word,” [the professor] answered. “You spoke of the ‘amazing luck’ that you were listening when my daughter called for help. That wasn’t luck…Why were you on that frequency? Because you were wearing a spacesuit. Why were you wearing it? Because you were determined to space. When a space ship called, you answered. If that is luck, then it is luck every time a batter hits a ball. Kip, ‘good luck’ follows careful preparation; ‘bad luck’ comes from sloppiness” (p. 244, 2005 Pocket Books edition.)

Forget about the genre for a minute, put spaceships and spacesuits behind you, and listen to what Heinlein emphasizes: Good luck follows careful preparation.

As writers, parents, teachers–whatever your occupation, whatever your age or stage in life, whatever you’re passionate about–you won’t travel an inch if you’re not prepared. How can you walk through an open door if you can’t recognize the opportunity? Look for ways to prepare yourself for future opportunities: read a classic, write a novel, turn off the television set, create attainable goals.

Preparedness will create your own “good luck.”

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