Contingency Thinking

Contingency Thinking: alternative planning, backup planning, being prepared when things go wrong

The most successful people are those who are good at Plan B. James Yorke

Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised. Denis Waitley

If Plan A fails you go to Plan B, not Plan A recycled. Andre Drazen

     For many things we should have a backup plan. According to Murphy’s Laws “Anything that can go wrong, will”. We have times where we are tempted to believe in Murphy. No matter Murphy’s truth or lack of truth, the wise have learned the value of contingency thinking. They know the value of having plan “B” ready to go.

      Those living in the coldest climates have learned the value of contingency planning. During the winter they make provisions for what to do if bad things happen. Many winters there are those who run off the road and bury in snow drifts. Sometimes they are found and rescued quickly and sometimes not. Those who carry survival materials maximize their likelihood of being found alive. Those who did not plan for such contingencies are sometimes found dead and frozen. They had not contingency planned.  The old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” strongly advocates contingency thinking.

    We have access to many wonderful technologies. The cell phone is a practical tool for contingencies. When someone leaves home and travels in their vehicle, there is always the potential for an accident, breakdown, or other unforeseen event. Having a cell phone available has proven invaluable for many. First aid kits, emergency funds, overdraft protection, wills, power of attorney, emergency generators are but a few contingencies and back up plans used by many. These things serve as preparation or as a contingency for what might happen.

    Worst case scenario planning advocates contingency thinking for the worst possible things that could happen, thinking through what to do if it does, and then deciding if the risks are worth the potential rewards.

   Many of us have been burned and punitively reminded of why we must have back up plans. We failed to plan properly, took unwise short cuts, or did not think “what if”. Hopefully, experience has taught us to do better. There are several things we should always remember. Try to do something right the first time and give it our best effort from the beginning. However, for things that are really important, we should have a backup plan in case something goes wrong. Having plan B minimizes damage and delays, uprights our ship, and gets us back on track. Back up plans are meant to minimize the pain and damage. Sometimes things just do not go as we want.

Challenge: Contingency planning is a valuable success principle. Not only will it help you to have more successes, it may prevent or minimize the damage or severity of potential setbacks. Being prepared, knowing what to do, and moving forward when things go wrong is invaluable. It is in your best interests to get in the habit of thinking what can go wrong, and having a backup plan or an alternative in case it does. Always have a plan B.

Wisdom: Failures don’t plan to fail; they fail to plan. Harvey McKay

Spiritual: (NIV)

Be strong and take heart, all you hope in the lord. Psalm 31:26

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who give generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:5

You will eat the fruit of your labor, blessings and prosperity will be ours. Psalm 128:2

The best contingency anyone can have or plan for is to know that God will be there when he is needed. We will have hardships, turmoil and even disaster to visit us during our lifetime. Our ability to rebound and regroup and get going again is a function of how strong and durable we are versus the size and nature of the difficulties and circumstances. God is more than capable and is willing to help us get through anything that may happen to us.

Prayer: Help me to be prepared for the unexpected. Please guide me and direct me in my planning activities.


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