The Upside To Plan B

There’s a popular idea I have heard in multiple contexts, and I would paraphrase it like this: Plan B is for losers. If you are really committed, if you are determined to succeed, then you are going to get it done. Thus, you don’t need a Plan B. People who come up with a Plan B are self-sabotaging. They’re showing their lack of faith in Plan A.

On the other hand…

Having a Plan B by it’s very definition gives you options. It sounds nice to say we’re committed to making a thing happen, whatever the thing is, but in a negotiation, that really puts us in a weak position.

Ecclesiastes is usually only quoted when people want to use the phrase “a time to–whatever,” but chapter 11 verse 6 says something pretty interesting. “In the morning sow your seed, and at evening do not let your hand rest, because you don’t know which will succeed” (HCSB).

Consider our response to the COVID-19 virus. We have had a quarantine, and we have tried to develop a vaccine. Having a Plan B doesn’t mean we lack faith in Plan A; it means we are focused on a bigger picture. A friend of mine recently talked about imagining that my goal is to get to the top of a mountain. It’s possible that there is more than one route that can take us there.

Having a Plan B doesn’t define one as a quitter. It can actually mean that if Plan A fails, we don’t have to quit. We can just pivot and and take another path to the top of the mountain.