Why Plan(t) for the Best!
Dear Why Team member,
I hope this weeks message finds you well and your week off to a great start. This week we explore why it's best to plan for the best.
Why plan for the best?
Simply because when we think positively, we attract positivity that leads to us living a happy life and being at our best, for ourselves and others.
However, planning involves setting a blueprint and considering all possible outcomes, both positive and negative. Our actions will determine the success of the plan. In 7 Skills of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey talks about how we are free to choose our actions but not free to choose the consequences of our actions: "we can choose to sit in front of a moving train but, we cannot choose what happens when the train hits us…Choices we made that bring on consequences we wish we could live without, are called mistakes." And it's the fear of making mistakes, that determines some to plan for the worst.
But not all fear is bad. While instinctive fear serves us in the moment, such as swerving to miss a car, or backing away from an angry dog, worry is something different. One of my teachers, Dr. Roger Hall, recently shared with me that worry is anticipatory fear, imagining worst case scenarios in the future. While I believe it's prudent to prepare for the worst, it's counterproductive to plan for it. If we are living in the belief that the worst will happen, it might as well be happening now. People can suffer their entire lives, afraid that the future will cause them suffering. Our world is a reflection of our thoughts about it. I often say that planners who plan for the worst are the worst planners. Why? Because they often get what they plan for.
Here is an example: Let's say you are about to take your first cruise across the Atlantic Ocean. You're so excited about the trip. You walk up to the captain, and you ask him what is his plan. And he says, "Well it's a big dangerous ocean, we plan to sink. But we have some nice lifeboats, would you like to see them?" Planners who plan for the best, however, are the best planners. It's not: plan for the worst, hope for the best, it's plan for the best, prepare for the worst. Preparation is why there are lifeboats but boarding a ship planning to use them makes for a life filled with sinking feelings. People literally worry themselves to death, thus living out their prophecies. Physically, worry elevates cortisol in our body, reducing the effectiveness of our prefrontal cortex, where effective actions and solutions can be found.
The story of Apollo 13 is a great lesson for all of us. An explosion damages their life support systems. They had every reason to plan for the worst, even throw their hands up, considering more the impossibilities, rather than the possibilities. History has shown, however, that they planned for the best and found the way to achieve the best outcome. Their love for their colleagues, and their fellow men, produced courage and showed them the way.
Until we have the will, rarely will we find the way. The will to serve others in the face of adversity, planning for the best, has revealed triumph even in the darkest hours. Plan for the best, plant positive possibilities every day. We truly do reap what we sow. Be the hope and the light, for yourself and others, and you will be more of what the world needs now.
Make it a great week,