I’m not a boxing fan, I’m not even a Mike Tyson fan, but I’m a big fan of this quote attributed to the fearsome warrior: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
There are a number of military variations on this quote, such as “Plans are great until the shooting starts” or “No plan survives first contact with the enemy.” Dwight Eisenhower said that “In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensible.”
My interest and my takeaway: it’s important to plan in order to achieve your objectives, but you have to be prepared to adapt, and adapt quickly, as soon as something goes awry–and something always goes awry because you can’t predict the future.
When things don’t go according to plan, you have to rely on your skills, experience, confidence, determination . . . or anything else you can drum up.
I Had a Plan
My plan, conceived almost 40 years ago, was to be a novelist. Boy did I get punched in the mouth. I eventually got up from the mat, wiped off the blood, and did get a couple of novels published, hopefully with more to come.
But along the way, I had to make some alterations to the plan. Foremost, I had to make a living, which I discovered isn’t so easy for novel writers. I figured out a way to use my writing skills to get paid. And I battled through periods of self-doubt and frustration. I fought the demons. I endured countless rejections.
So things haven’t exactly unfolded the way I’d planned or hoped, but unfold they did in their own way. I learned to take a punch, and launch a counterattack.