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You want to really ruin your life? Just screw it up beyond recognition or repair? 

Then neglect the importance and necessity of having a “Plan B.”

Lacking a fallback plan is also a surefire recipe for inconveniencing and even harming other people, who will have to clean up your mess if and when your “Plan A” doesn’t work out. 

I am sick to DEATH of personal growth teachers who tell you to “rip up Plan B.” 

Just yesterday I read on one such “teacher’s” page whole paragraphs about how if you have the temerity to have a backup plan, it simply communicates to the universe that you don’t have sufficient faith in your primary plan. 

His argument was that any energy you devote to a backup plan siphons focus away from your primary plan, thus lessening that plan’s chances of success. 

He concluded by exhorting his audience to go ALL IN on “Plan A,” and to leave fallback planning for those losers who don’t believe in the power of their dreams. 

Are you kidding me? 

Look, I’m all in favor of chasing after your “Plan A” with purpose and passion. I believe we can accomplish things that astonish even ourselves when we buckle down and focus our creative energies on goals we care about. 

The thing is, there are dozens of ways “Plan A” can go wrong that have nothing to do with our focus or passion. 

When you leave yourself with no exit strategy, you’re very arrogantly assuming that there are no variables in the world that impact your results other than your own will and skill. 

I assure you: there are such variables. 

Many such variables. 

Having an exit strategy— a “Plan B”— is not to declare that you lack confidence or faith in your abilities, or that you doubt the efficacy of your plan. 

What constructing a good “Plan B” actually means is that you are realistic and responsible. 

As John Lennon put it, “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” 

Something that I very often talk with my patients and clients about is, how do we pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off when something doesn’t go as planned? 

When you get hit with a shot you didn’t see coming? 

When an accident happens? 

When a variable pops up that you didn’t even know was a thing, let alone a thing that could derail your “Plan A?” 

Very often people are tempted to think that when “Plan A” goes awry, they’re just screwed— they won’t achieve their goal, and the only reasonable response is to curl up and surrender. 

That’s not really the case…UNLESS you’ve arrogantly decided to not construct a realistic, responsible “Plan B.” 

By neglecting “Plan B,” you’re basically setting other people up to clean up your mess. 

Medical insurance is an example of a responsible “Plan B.” Nobody expects to get sick or injured. Nobody wants it. Nobody asks for it. “Plan A” is to remain healthy and functional. But we know that in the real world, illness and accidents happen. We need to have a reasonable “Plan B” for when— not “if”— they do. 

Car insurance is an example of a responsible “Plan B.” Nobody expects to get into a car accident. Nobody wants it. Nobody asks for it. “Plan A” is to stay on your side of the road and trust others to stay on their side of the road. But we know that in the real world, car accidents happen. Roads get icy. Judgement gets impaired. We need to have a reasonable “Plan B’ for when— not “if”— those things happen. 

Vaccinations are a “Plan B.” “Plan A” is to just avoid communicable disease. But we know in the real world…

Locks on our doors are a “Plan B.” “Plan A” is to just trust others to not invade our personal space or take our stuff. But we know in the real world…

I could go on…but you get my point. 

Neglecting “Plan B” is an immature, arrogant, stupid thing to do.

Devise a “Plan B.” Make it sound, responsible, and realistic. Tuck it in your back pocket, and be clear about how to access it if and when you need to. 

Then return your attention to “Plan A,” and work like hell to make it happen. 

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