Sometimes, having a safety net actually holds you back, instead of allowing you to fail without falling.
We all understand the purpose of a safety net. It catches us when we fall. None of us want to fail so we create a fallback plan, a plan B. But there is a distinct problem with having a plan B.
The only alternative to failure is success
In a recent interview with Howard Stern, Ed Sheeran was asked if seeing many dedicated and talented musicians fail was hard to accept. Ed’s answer wasn’t what I was expecting. It was encouraging but also strongly challenging.
Howard: “And how many guys do you know, who did the whole being on couches and stuff and then don’t make it, it’s crazy sad!”
Ed: “No, do you know what, the only ones that I know that don’t [make it] are the ones that had a plan B, so the moment you go ‘I don’t want to sleep on this couch anymore but I have this really good job that I can go to’, that’s the moment that it doesn’t happen.
I have actually never met anyone that has set their mind on something and not achieved it. Eventually."
He went on to say how there are actors who make it when they are 50, and they are the biggest actors in the world. And that’s because they haven’t had a plan B.
It is undeniable that anything challenging that we undertake will have problems. There is rarely such a thing as success without some challenges along the way.
If we have a plan B we can simply give up on the goal when things get hard. If we don’t have a fallback it means we pick ourselves up again and keep going. Not because it’s easy and not because we feel like it, but because it’s the only option.
Sure, but how does this work in reality?
Like so many things, it’s simple. But it’s definitely not easy. And in this case, it’s definitely not for everyone.
Those who find something they want more than anything else, don’t have a plan B because they want to succeed.
They don’t have a fallback because it’s not about the fame, but about the individual’s dedication to pursuing their passion.
Finding that one thing
Now I’m not an advocate of jumping into the first thing that takes your fancy, to be totally dedicated to something means finding the right goal.
Many of us haven’t found our ‘one thing’ yet. But if we take every opportunity that comes our way, we'll find it eventually.
The step that must come before not having a plan B, is finding a plan A.