Prevention is the best intervention

I was the Product manager for tamoxifen, brand name Nolvadex, the largest selling drug for the treatment of breast cancer. I worked for Stuart Pharmaceuticals. The company was a part of the pioneering effort which led to Breast Cancer Awareness Week which became Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One of the primary messages is “Early detection is the best protection.” Early discovery gave women the best chance of a favorable prognosis.

All of us were exposed to many sayings as we were growing up which if followed, prevented us from getting into trouble. “Honesty is the best policy” would help us avoid lying and telling countless lies to cover-up and make matters worse. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” gave us wisdom on the simplicity of discipline over the complexity of a full-blown crisis. Many laws, rules and regulations also serve as a means to minimize discomfort and inconvenience.

“Prevention is the best intervention” is a claim that is true in many areas of our lives. We find ourselves in difficult situation knowing we could have avoided them if we acted on our knowledge and instincts. Why deal with headaches, inconvenience, stresses, disappointments, setbacks and unfulfilled expectations if we don’t have to? Rather than nip it in the bud, how can we terminate, before the situation germinates? This beckons us to review our lifestyle and exercise self-control in the most important areas.

I am an exercise enthusiast and you may identify with this thought. Part of my reason for staying in shape, outside of the obvious benefits, is to avoid the pain and agony of getting back into shape. If I can prevent this recurring discomfort, I can reap the benefits and ward off the problems of poor fitness. I must however, follow the guidelines of healthy living.

This process works in business and in relationships. There is a picture I own called The Journey, which I have used for many years. It shows a scene from the early 1900’s. There are many people and many action sequences. All who begin The Journey must pass through the Gateway of Opportunity on the Road to Success. There is a train called The Right System which leads you on a winding track to the top of the mountain to Success. However, along the route there are numerous distractions and diversions, such as, illiteracy, arrogance, weak morals, procrastination, lack of preparation, jealousy, bad business methods, etc. Engaging in the wrong activities may lead you into the River of Failure or a number of unsightly career and relationship ending dilemmas, which could have been prevented.  The picture also displays areas where second chances are earned as people learn their lessons.

People knew the consequences of the character damaging actions that would ruin their reputations, but did them anyway. Knowing your weakness and the areas where you are most vulnerable can help you devise a plan to protect yourself. Some recommend you conduct a personal assessment. The standard SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) can serve as a starting point. You simply write one of these words at the top of a column and list those attributes that personally apply to you. Strengths and Weaknesses refer to you and Opportunities and Threats refer to environment in which you live or work. Remember, the point of greatness vulnerability may not be through your weakness, but through your strength. We are often enamored by our strong points and leave ourselves open to temptation.

You may also want to think about the following:

  • Knowledge of your Right System
  • The benefits of compliance – if you stay on your path the goals and benefits and many rewards along the way
  • Worst case scenarios – a review of the consequences – the impact on self,  family, career and other resources and relationships
  • Examples of others who succeeded – showing discipline and resolve
  • Examples of those who were not successful and what happened to them – learn from their mistakes – Why do you have to make all of the mistakes yourself?
  • An accountability partner – who you can confess to and who can keep you on the right path

Prevention is the best intervention is the ideal situation. Although it may not be possible in your current area of need, it is never too late. If you are already in the throes of a situation, the standard intervention techniques are required to “correct the disconnect” between your current state your expectations. Once the intervention is successful, it becomes the preventative needed to ward off a relapse.

Copyright © 2010 Orlando Ceaser

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