Feb 172011

No matter how optimistic you are, it is impossible to take risks, try new things, make progress, and learn valuable lessons without running into your fair share of obstacles and adversity.

What I find interesting is that the same adversity can be perceived very differently by different people. One person sees the adversity as an obstacle to be overcome while another sees it as a dead end, a failure from which one must turn around and retreat.

Sure, attitude and confidence plays a part. If you have overcome similar road blocks in the past, the next one is not as daunting. But there is a better trick to ensure your continued momentum and tenacity.

The trick is to plan for adversity in advance, to play chess, not checkers, with all the goals and missions in your life.

If you are serious and wise about achieving a new project or mission, investing some time to develop a plan is a requirement. Often, people make the mistake of only creating Plan A, the outline which assumes all the dominos will fall in order.  If a person invests the time to anticipate and write down contingency plans B, C, and D — before Murphy’s Law strikes — his or her ability to adapt and overcome in the face of obstacles, adversity, and uncertainty improves remarkably.

Written plans improve one’s optimism.  Written plans, with well thought-out contingency plans, triple one’s optimism and resilience.

An interesting observation about business plans for new start-ups is that they are rarely followed as they were written. This happens because many new things are learned once the entrepreneurs embark on the venture. I think planning is priceless none-the-less, for the logical approach and resolve that it brings to the kick-off.

If you are committed to approaching your missions professionally, plans should be adjusted on a regular basis, just as a pilot adjusts course during a flight from Seattle to Miami.  Weather, winds, traffic, and turbulence all require adjustment, but filing a flight plan remains essential.

Plan for obstacles and you will achieve more while keeping the optimistic fire burning bright.

I.M. Optimism Man

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