When Plan ‘A’ Fails

What you do next matters.

And then, just like that, *poof* plan ‘A’ is no more.

It doesn’t matter what plan ‘A’ may have been, because if it’s gone and done there is little to nothing more you can do at that point.

It may be frustrating, upsetting, annoying, displeasing, and any number of other negative reactions you can come up with. However, it’s important to recognize a few facts.

First — Sh*t happens. So very much of what happens in our lives is totally out of our control. Recognizing this and accepting it can go a long ways. And no, I am in no way saying we have to like it.

Second — No plan survives contact with the enemy. I have been doing medieval fencing for quite some time. In the game I play, we do melee combat — team on team fights. One of the first rules of this combat is that no plan will survive contact with the enemy. Why? Because when they move, odds are pretty good they will NOT move as we want them to. Ergo, plan is no good.

Third — Change is inevitable. We live in a constantly changing world. Even the most static and apparently staid matter is, in fact, changing. Recognizing this makes accepting it, and the failure of plan ‘A,’ a much easier pill to swallow.

Fourth — Self-recrimination is pointless. If you take the blame for the failure of plan ‘A’, this will inevitably begin a downward spiral. From there, you will likely find more fault, and more reasons to blame yourself for the plan failing. You can certainly be accountable and responsible for some of the causation of the failure of the plan, but accountable is not the same as taking the blame. Accountable is acknowledgement, whereas blame is reproachful.

What follows plan ‘A’?

Did you have a plan ‘B’? Is the failure of plan ‘A’ totally devastating, or just a bump in the road? These matter for a number of different reasons.

When life is going how we prefer it to go, chances are we didn’t make a plan ‘B’. I mean, who thought plan ‘A’ would go to Sh*t, and leave us in this spot? But not having a plan ‘B’ is actually fine. It’s not entirely necessary.

Why? Because how would you know what it will look like? Since you didn’t expect plan ‘A’ to go south, how could you have created an appropriate plan ‘B’ to address it? Answer is, you probably couldn’t.

Which brings us to how you react to the end of plan ‘A’. Are you devastated and left feeling like the bombed-out husk of a warzone bunker, or do you feel like you tripped? If the former, you likely feel like you are a cartoon character, blackened after the brunt of an Acme bomb explosion. If the latter, you may feel you are bruised and scuffed, but you can pick yourself back up and continue on.

When we see this as a bump in the road, and a stumbling block over which we tripped, it might hurt. Without a doubt, it might be totally annoying. But, we are still able to pick ourselves up and brush ourselves off and keep going.

I know moving on can be challenging. But life goes on, and while you may want to stop and lick your wounds, you can’t just give up. Get mad, have a shout or a cry, and do whatever it takes to let it go.

Plans are seldom perfect

No plan is ever going to be perfect. Why? Because there will always be factors over which we have absolutely no control. Take a wedding, for example. You can plan it down to the most minute detail, and have everything aligned perfectly — until the weather turns sour, the officiant goes off script, and your drunk uncle skeeves out a bridesmaid.

Perhaps the plan is not imperfect, but the execution very seldom goes without some hitch or other. When we hold too tightly to what we have planned out, when it does go wrong, we open ourselves up to a world of negativity, and how much of that we take into ourselves determines what will come next.

I am not dismissing having a plan. Going through life just waiting for Sh*t to happen is not tremendously useful, either. However, we need to reconcile the idea that no matter how good and detailed a plan we make, things will happen that can derail it.

Not everything that wrecks your plan is bad. Sometimes we need our plans to change. Why? Because maybe we didn’t account for something, or some other experience has changed an aspect of ourselves or our lives in such a way that the plan changes, too.

For this reason, it is important to be flexible with your plans.

Plan ‘A’ should not be so rigid that there’s no room for change. When we accept this notion, we can better adapt to a different solution when the plan goes *poof*.

Being mindful that change is a constant

Because change is a constant, we need to accept how little control we have over most things. For this reason, whether it’s plan ‘A’, plan ‘B’, or any other notion for taking action to make our lives the best we can, we need to remember what we DO have control over.

What we think. How and what we feel. How we act. Short, sweet, to the point. All else is a matter of outside influence, environment, and other factors beyond our ability to do more than influence.

Still, having goals is important. Making a plan to achieve the goal is also good. Just remember the four facts I shared at the beginning, leave room for the plan to flip, stumble, get unexpected detours and possible changes, and you may wind up with a better goal than you initially intended.

One last bit for you. Planning for the future is not a bad idea, and learning from the past helps us do things. However, only in the here-and-now are we truly present. This reality, or rather the illusion we call our reality, is really very individual, since no two people perceive the world the same.

As such, when we work on being mindful and aware of the present, even with a goal in mind, we can fully experience the myriad of incredible things life has to offer. The journey really does matter, because it’s the most real thing we have.

Every single day is different from the day before. Further, each of us experiences that uniquely. Embracing this, and accepting the inevitability of change, we can be more aware, less stressed, and I believe better capable to change our lives and the world for the better.

Maybe plan ‘A’ went *poof*, but perhaps that’s actually for the best.

Written by

I am a practitioner of mindfulness, positivity, philosophy, & conscious reality creation. I love to inspire, open minds, & entertain. http://www.mjblehart.com

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