I once saw a quote that goes like this: “The optimist created the aeroplane and the pessimist created the parachute”. In my humble view, the pessimist is the one who makes the optimist a realist. People who are pessimistic do not usually boot out an idea; instead, they ask the “what if” question – what would happen if the plans of the optimist do not materialize? In simple terms, the pessimist asks the optimist to have a plan B.
My mum used to tell me that life is like a biscuit – it never breaks in the direction which you wish it to break. Life does not always go according to our best laid plans, and many a time the twist and turns of life are very unpredictable, resulting in our plan A not materializing according to our desires. That is why every good strategist has a contingency plan, i.e. a plan B. The plan B is what will be done if the risks that are attached to plan A happen.
My experience has led me to understand that the contingency plan should be nearly as good as your main plan. This means that your plan B should not necessary lead you away from what you had desired to achieve with plan A. Instead the plan B is your alternative route to the desired outcome.
Let us assume you have to arrive in a particular city at a particular time and there are two roads that could get you there. The first, which is your preferred route – your plan A – will take you ten minutes. The second, your plan B, will take you twenty minutes. So you take the first route and five minutes later, realise the road has been blocked. Now you have to travel five minutes backwards and take the twenty minutes route. Now your ten minute trip has taken you thirty minutes, and you are totally late.
Making your plan B as nearly as good plan A would have meant leaving thirty minutes earlier on the first route and then if this unpredictable world prevents you in any way, you can always take the second route and arrive on time. I know it sounds like too much work, but in such an eccentric world we need to make plan Bs.
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