“There’s no reason to have a Plan B because it distracts from Plan A.” – Will Smith
Will Smith is successful, so we should listen to him, right? Not quite. What if someone had a dream that aliens told her to play the lotto. If she won the lotto, and began to claim that aliens were real, would you believe in aliens?
Point is, successful people have false positives, which is why it’s good to check fundamentally common aspects of all successful people (that strategy also doesn’t fully work on its own).
Here’s the reality –
Having a backup plan will hinder tremendous success but not having one will hinder mediocre success. – TruthCake
Restated, a backup plan will create a huge likelihood of mediocrity. No backup plan will create a huge likelihood of massive failure OR success.
Tony Robbins wants you to burn the bridges such that failure isn’t an option. This works out really well for him because it creates massive achievements, which he can use as testimonials.
However, the reality is that not having a backup plan will ruin you on a long enough time line.
If you’re looking to have a secure, safe, and moderately successful future, then you need to have a backup plan. You’ll never be amazing at anything, because as soon as things get hard (and they always do before you become amazing), you’ll bail and go to your backup plan. And you’ll probably be ok at doing that thing in your backup plan, until things get real hard, and you’ll bail again and again.
If you’re in the safety net, you’re not climbing (but you’re not dying either).
If you like playing it safe, enjoy stability in life, AND don’t care about greatness, then have a backup plan. You’ll be happier for it.
If you like greatness, can handle risk and turmoil, then backup plans will actually hurt you because you’ll never give something your full effort. And you’ll also be distracted from devoting time to that backup plan and that will make the main plan suffer.
You’ll never be the best rocket scientist if you spend 20% of your time learning how to code just in case your scientist job falls through. But you’re unlikely to stay unemployed for long.
You’ll never be the best husband if you spend 20% flirting with another girl at the office. But you’re unlikely to stay single for very long.
Backup plans serve a real and useful purpose for survival.
The real question is, would it REALLY be that bad if you didn’t have a backup plan and failed at what you really wanted?