Preparedness vs resilience, are they the same thing?
So there’s a new buzzword, sustainability. Often this word is used interchangeably with preparedness. But are they the same? Let’s first explore the definitions and differences between these two words.
So what is readiness?
Preparedness is defined as a state of readiness, it is something we do to achieve our goal of being prepared. So what did you have to prepare for in your life? In my business, we tend to think of natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, etc. But are we also preparing for other things? How about a wedding, vacation or even moving to a new city? As you can see in all these examples, they are contained in the event. So what we have is a pre-event (normal life), the event, and then recovery from the event (returning to normal life). So readiness can be encapsulated in something that is done and then put away.
So what is sustainability?
Resilience can be defined as “the ability to adapt to changing conditions and to withstand and quickly recover from disruptions due to emergencies”*. So let’s look at this a little further, because this definition implies that sustainability becomes a state of being. By being able to adapt more easily to changing conditions, it would lead to a faster recovery from these events. Resilience is something we become, it can never be contained or encapsulated. It is something that runs through all parts of our lives.
Preparedness vs. Resilience
As we have studied, there is a difference in both the definition and the result of the two words; but every word had a place in our lives. There is always something to prepare for to make the event easier. Resilience is how we deal with any challenges or obstacles that occur when something goes wrong within the event we have planned.
For example: I have planned my fantasy vacation to drive to Disney World with my family. We’re packed and ready to go. Around day 3 of this trip (after the fun starts to wane for the kids); my car broke down, we have to meet Mickey tomorrow and we won’t make it. Although we prepared, the unexpected happened. How I deal with this challenge and transition to a more peaceful transition depends on my resilience. Can I find a way to keep the kids happy until we get there? Will this situation turn this fantastic planned vacation into a nightmare? How stressed will this situation make me? Finally, when we leave, will I enjoy the rest of this new vacation? Each of these questions points to my resilience in a very hostile environment. (Have you ever put off meeting Mickey? I wouldn’t recommend it!)
Preparedness is now becoming part of resilience. I wouldn’t want to go through life without preparing for events, but I also wouldn’t want to rely on my stamina alone to get me through life. Both words play an active role in our lives but they are not the same, preparedness is something we do and resilience is something we are in any situation. In future articles, I will explore the concept of resilience in more detail as it applies to our human nature.
* Presidential Policy Directive-8