Saturday, 6 July 2013

Problem compression

Prior to embarking on a venture or quest it’s a good idea to plan thoroughly.  A plan is a set of pre-determined actions that are triggered either at a specified time or the occurrence of an event.  Having a blueprint with contingencies in place can prevent heartache later on.  A good plan also helps to ensure that opportune moments are maximized - it isn't only about damage control or risk management.

By the same token the planning phase can become an exercise in organized paranoia if you spend too much time on it.  The fact will always remain that our limited human brains cannot forecast the future with great accuracy.  Whether you see it as a shortcoming of man or a part of God's design, it must be accepted that nobody can predict the future with perfect certainty.  To then try to have a solution ready for every possible permutation in your plan is an exercise in futility.

A mistake we often make is to compress all possible problems and delays into a small time frame.  You see, while planning you attempt to list most or all of the mishaps that could occur.  When you sit back to look at this list of mishaps, you tend to forget that they could happen over the lifespan of your endeavor, one at a time, and instead inadvertently think it could all happen simultaneously.  Your mind takes all possible problems and wrongfully compresses them into one giant hurdle.  You then feel as if you need an answer for all possible scenarios.

In reality though all possible problems do not occur at once; they present themselves as several smaller hurdles that can be dealt with one or two at a time.  Most problems are not something that nobody else has faced either, meaning help is at hand from the following sources:

1) Online communities, resources and information centers (as well as physical ones)
2) Professional consultants (admittedly you pay for these)
3) Friends and family

This means that even if you don't have the solution, someone else is very likely to.

Also don't forget you will also usually have a fair amount of time to devise a solution should an unforeseen hiccup occur.  Your plan should have the main bases covered, then as you implement it make adjustments according to the way your situation plays out.  Don't let your plan become a doomsday list: instead of helping to ensure a smooth journey it then becomes a hindrance.

The only time the walls can come in on you at once is if you’ve done something criminal or you managed your risk in a grossly negligent and naive way.  Other than that remember the purpose of a plan is to increase your probability of success,  it isn't there to insure against all failure.

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