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  • We grow up - inevitably - with a strong attachment to a plan A, that is, an idea of how our lives

  • will go and what we need to do to achieve our particular set of well-defined goals.

  • For example, we'll do four years of law school, then move out west, buy a house and

  • start a family. Or, we'll go to medical school for 7 years, then go to another country

  • and train in our speciality of interest and hope to retire by fifty. Or we'll get married

  • and raise two children with an emphasis on the outdoors and doing good in the world.

  • But then, for some of us and at one level all of us, life turns out to have made a few

  • other plans. A sudden injury puts a certain career forever out of reach. A horrible and

  • unexpected bit of office politics blackens our name and forces us out of our professional

  • path. We discover an infidelity or make a small but significant error which changes

  • everything about how crucial others view us.

  • And so, promptly, we find we have to give up on plan A altogether. The realisation can

  • feel devastating. Sobbing or terrified, we wonder how things could have turned out this

  • way. By what piece of damnation has everything come to this? Who could have predicted that

  • the lively and hopeful little boy or girl we once were would have to end up in such

  • a forlorn and pitiful situation? We alternately weep and rage at the turn of events.

  • It is for such moments that we should, even when things appear calm and hopeful, consider

  • one of life's most vital skills: that of developing a plan B.

  • The first element involves fully acknowledging that we are never cursed for having to make

  • a plan B. Plan As simply do not work out all the time. No one gets through life with all

  • their careful plan As intact. Something unexpected, shocking and abhorrent regularly comes along,

  • not only to us, but to all human beings. We are simply too exposed to accident, too lacking

  • in information, too frail in our capacities, to avoid some serious avalanches and traps.

  • The second point is to realise that we are, despite moments of confusion, eminently capable

  • of developing very decent plan Bs. The reason why we often don't trust that we can is

  • that children can't so easily - and childhood is where we have all came from and continue

  • to be influenced by in ways it's hard to recognise. When children's plans go wrong,

  • they can't do much in response: they have to stay at the same school, they can't divorce

  • their parents, they can't move to another country or shift job. They're locked in

  • and immobile.

  • But adults are not at all this way, a glorious fact which we keep needing to refresh in our

  • minds and draw comfort from in anxious moments. We have enormous capacities to act and to

  • adapt. The path ahead may be blocked, but we have notable scope to find other routes

  • through. One door may close, but there truly are many other entrances to try. We do not

  • have only one way through this life, even if - at times - we cling very fervently to

  • a picture of how everything should and must be.

  • We're a profoundly adaptable species. Perhaps we'll have to leave town forever, maybe

  • we'll have to renounce an occupation we spent a decade nurturing, perhaps it will

  • be impossible to remain with someone in who

  • It can feel desperate - until we rediscover our latent plan B muscle. In reality, there

  • would be a possibility to relocate, to start afresh in another domain, to find someone

  • else, to navigate around the disastrous event. There was no one script for us written at

  • our birth, and nor does there need to be only one going forward.

  • It helps, in flexing our plan B muscles, to acquaint ourselves with the lives of many

  • others who had to throw away plan As and begin anew: the person who thought they'd be married

  • forever, then suddenly weren't - and coped; the person who was renowned for doing what

  • they did, then had to start over in a dramatically different field - and found a way.

  • Amidst these stories, we're liable to find a few people who will tell us, very sincerely,

  • that their plan B ended up, eventually, superior to their plan A. They worked harder for it,

  • they had to dig deeper to find it and it carried less vanity and fear within it.

  • Crucially, we don't need to know right now what our plan Bs might be. We should simply

  • feel confident that we will, if and when we need to, be able to work them out. We don't

  • need to ruminate on them all now or anticipate every frustration that might come our way;

  • we should simply feel confident that, were the universe to command it, we would know

  • how to find a very different path.

  • Our Decision Dice are a tool to help you make wiser decisions in work, love and the rest of your life.

We grow up - inevitably - with a strong attachment to a plan A, that is, an idea of how our lives

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B1 UK plan feel confident simply find hopeful path

There Is Always a Plan B

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    Amy.Lin posted on 2019/08/28
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