Tuesday, 19 July 2016
Burn the Boats
I listened to an NPR podcast the other day called "Backup Plans" that talked about the idea of having a "Plan B". You know, the thing you can fall back on if your current pursuit doesn't pan out. The plan in place to save your bacon if you just don't quite cut it where you are.
Plan B thinking seems very responsible and we might applaud someone for having a well thought out backup plan. It seems somewhat obvious that having a Plan B will give you the confidence and security you need to take bigger risks or work harder in achieving success.
Until we really study it.
The simple fact is, it appears that having a Plan B (something to "fall back" on or an exit strategy) is a hindrance to success. It appears that having a backup plan in place will actually have the opposite effect of inspiring confidence and boldness.
Having a backup plan actually decreases motivation.
Now of course there are times in life when we need to have backup plans, emergency strategies or contingency plans.
If I leave the kids with the babysitter and he can't get ahold of me, a backup plan or second emergency contact is a good idea.
A spare tire is probably a smart thing to keep in your car.
But what about health, lifestyle, business or job scenarios?
If I know I have other options when applying for a job, will that increase my motivation to secure the job, or make me more lax in my interview preparation?
It appears that it might be the latter.
If I am training for a race and I start to tell myself, "Well nobody will notice if I need to walk for a half a mile so if I need to (but only if I need to) then I'll just walk".
Do you think having the security of this "out" will motivate me to train harder, push my limits and reach or surpass my goals?
It's an interesting thing to ponder because I find myself making "backup plans" ALL THE TIME.
I think I'm being responsible. I think I'm being fair and smart.
But am I really selling myself short?
Am I robbing myself of the experience of struggle, pain, courage and victory that would come only if I pushed past excuses and exit strategies and reached new levels of success?
All I know is that I've started a lot of projects and never finished. I've worked out for a week ... then I quit. I've passed up opportunities in favor of the less risky, but also less satisfying Plan B.
So I'm trying a new approach.
BURN THE BOATS. BURN THOSE DAMN THINGS DOWN.
No turning back. No exit strategy.
Just hard work. Perseverance. And a whole lot of potential success.
Are you in?
Bravely forth my friends,