Sunday, September 24, 2023

Plan B

A New Year, a new beginning, another chance for life! Happy New Year everybody! The one thing that comes to mind with the New Year is a New Year resolution or a New Year Plan. Many of us use New Year as an opportunity to set new goals and plans. I have never been one of those, sadly. I don’t know why, to be honest! I guess for some of us, a New Year need not come for us to set new goals and make new beginnings. Personally, I believe that all days of the year provide an equal opportunity to set new plans.

The thing about making a plan is that you set some level of expectations for yourself. You think ahead and make some level of prediction of what the future would look like, what the outcomes of your plans would be, and what the contexts in which you would implement your plans would look like. Plans make you disciplined; they make you focused; they make you organized and strategic. There is one thing I do not like about plans though. And that is the level of expectation that lies in making plans. When we set plans, we set expectations. And with expectations, there is the risk of disappointment if our plans fail to materialize. Although many of us know that the gain with no or minimal risk taken is suboptimal, many of us do not dare take the risk.

There is this behavior that I have observed among my fellow Ethiopians. And that is that many of us do not like to make plans, and especially long-term ones. Ethiopians are humble, and they fear God. And that’s probably why that when we are asked about our plans for the far away future, we tend to answer ‘Ende Egziabeher fikad’ or ‘God willing’. It is not necessarily because we are God-fearing that we fear making concrete personal plans. I believe that there is a tendency in our culture to leave things to situations. ‘It depends on X or Y’, we would answer if we are asked what our plan is even for the coming few days. Indeed, our lives are filled with unpredictable situations especially because we live in a developing world where plans do not matter much.

But the funny thing is that when we do actually make plans, we tend to ignore the unpredictability of the Ethiopian world that we live in. In other words, rarely are plan Bs given importance. Personally, I love plan Bs! People may tend to consider people such as myself as being pessimistic, or having no confidence or trust in the realization of our original plans. I argue that we need not only plan Bs, but as many alternative plans as possible, even if it goes to plan Z! Plan Bs save you from great disappointment and loss! They keep your eyes checked on reality! I believe that people with plan Bs in all their plans are realistic people, and are well prepared for the unexpected, the downfall. Plan Bs can mean considering changing the original plan itself or it might mean keeping the original plan but changing the implementation strategy to align with the prevailing situation. But I must stress that plan Bs are great. You only realize that when your original plan fails to materialize. That’s when you wish you had planned for plan B, or more! So my advice to you, don’t fear plan Bs as you make plans for the New Year!

Contributed by Tsion Taye

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