The importance of having Plan [B]ackup ...

Understand Black Swan

We thought we could predict the future, but in the last 18 months, we've learned how unreliable this can be. Chaos and failure have become an unavoidable part of life. Anyone who started a business shortly before the recent COVID-19 pandemic knows how difficult it can be.

A friend of mine managed to open a local restaurant/pizza shop about two months before the pandemic. They were off to a fantastic start, and business was picking up. Then March arrived, and all restaurants were forced to shut for indoor dining.

With businesses around the world scrambling to rethink what they can offer and stay competitive in this crazy time, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it necessary for them to rethink how they operate. The worst is yet to come.

It should be clear to everyone that this is an unpredictable and unknown situation. That doesn't mean we can't make guesses and learn from the experience.


We all dream of having a perfect life. We set our goals and make plans. We work hard - and then, as we know, life happens. Job disappears. Our loved ones getting diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. The economy is in free fall, and we have no savings.

At first, we reel in confusion as it all sinks in. Nothing makes sense. We find no clear answers. When we finally get a chance to recover, the flurry of questions starts flooding in. How will I ever overcome this? What should I do? Will I be able to go home? Will I be able to achieve my dreams?

All of a sudden, your life changes and you have to confront a new reality. It's then that you must turn to your Plan B.

Plan B

Despite our best intentions, things do not always work out as we’d like them to. That's why it's good to have a backup plan for any occasions where luck is not on our side. Plan B is a contingency plan for when things go wrong. Its profile has grown in recent years due to the ubiquity of disaster-related news and social media.

You know that there may be a better solution – a way that will yield long-lasting results. The fact is you don’t have time to change your thinking and consider as many options as you need to be making sound decisions. Making backup plans has undeniably important advantages. One advantage is the psychological comfort it provides: people believe, "I'll be OK even if I fail because I can then do X or Y.

Sometimes it's important to stay calm, put the fire out, see what caused it, and evaluate what may have prevented the problem in the future. We need to see the true picture of the damage and introspect what caused it and how it could have been prevented.

A flurry of questions starts popping up in my mind.

"I wasn't to blame. I didn't deserve this treatment."

The more important question in this situation should be “How could I have been better prepared?”

It’s fair to say that you can't foresee everything. But thinking about your current resources and alternative options in advance can help you stay better prepared when making difficult decisions. Things like what if this were to happen, you are better prepared.

Must have for a great Plan B

The path to success is hardly ever smooth. You can bet it won't be that easy if you're trying to pursue something worthwhile. That is why the best entrepreneurs value tenacity and persistence as essential qualities.

Good Plan B is built on some basic fundamentals.

  • Achievable Goals in case original plan fails

  • Potential issues must be identified and a resolution plan in place

  • Alternatives available in case of original plan failure

Plan B-100% necessary?

Consideration of a backup plan may result in the identification of another goal as valuable, causing us to re-evaluate our primary goal and possibly reduce its value. And the natural result of a decrease in value is a decrease in willingness to pursue the original goal.

Making a backup plan can have a negative impact on goal achievement. Is this to say that you should never have more than one plan? Most likely not. It is sometimes necessary to plan in detail for a specific activity because it may have multiple possible outcomes. This "no Plan B" advice is appropriate and applicable to things like starting up a business, accepting a new career, and so on. In these situations, a high level of personal commitment is required for success.

Having alternative options is a trade-off, as it is with most things in life. There is little doubt that commitment to a business or job is maximized when the alternative is extremely unpleasant, such as the bank seizing your personal assets.

Future Focus

Having a Plan B is often prudent, if not necessary.

Back-up plans not only to keep you calm in stressful situations but also provide two important characteristics that should always be considered when planning anything in life: flexibility and adaptability.

But, once you've made that backup plan, try to forget about it. In order to minimize the demotivating aspects of Plan B, you should concentrate on the primary plan and its potential benefits.

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