2 Jun 20153 Comments
Plan For Your Plan To Fail
Murphy’s Law, if something can go wrong it will go wrong. We plan and prepare and yet, when the time comes to implement your plan it most likely will not flow they way you planned it to.
Yesterday I got caught in a storm, well, I didn’t really get caught in the actual storm, I got caught in the storm aftermath. I knew there was a storm coming in, I stayed at my location to wait it out, good plan. Once the storm past and after checking the weather radar, I made the decision to head out on the roads and go home.
The first thing I realized was the main interstate was total grid lock, no issue, I had an alternate route a plan just in case of the highway being blocked, yeah, so did everyone else. Still not issue, heavy traffic on a suburban road, well, not really, more like grid lock. On the radio the traffic report announced a tree was down on the road I was on. Again, no problem, I had a plan, I knew I could cut through a neighborhood and route around the majority of the congestion and bounce back out onto the suburban road. The good news was that now I was pretty much alone in this neighborhood. The majority of the drivers on the suburban road had no plan past being on that road there they sat, while I was on my way. Or was I?
As I head down this side road into the neighborhood now with the road to myself, I soon ran into a huge problem, the road I planned on taking was flooded and car was sunk back-end up. Ok, I will pull out my GPS to route around the flooded area….oops, I had taken it out of my car since I had the car at the mechanic and then planned on getting a full detail, actually I realized I had nothing in my car that I normally have, like my get home bag, maps, water bottle, etc. I had thought about putting everything back in the car when I got the car back, but, as we all do, got distracted and ended up heading out that morning with the passive thought of “I will put that stuff in the car tonight when I get home.” You know what I am talking about, we carry this stuff around with us for years and never need it, so not having it for a day won’t be a big deal. You see, my plan, was failing before my eyes, both in supplies and in routes home.
Ah, I have a smart phone, I will pull GPS up and use an app to route me though this neighborhood, well two things, battery was nearly dead, and you guess it, my charging cable and even an extra battery was in the bag that was sitting home.
Murphy Will Take Advantage
My point here is plan that your plan will fail, because if Murphy has his chance, he will take it. I had carried my get home bag in my car daily for years, never needed it. I had my GPS in the car all the time, but never use it because I am usually local and know (or I thought) my way around. My smart phone is always charged, but due to a very busy day at a job site I was at I had run the battery down more than normal. Funny thing is, I always have two phones, not that day, I left my work phone home because I was taking a bit of a vacation.
If you think it can’t happy to you, that you have a plan and you will follow that plan to a tee, think again, because that is what I always thought. Murphy will bust down that door and mess with you, you need to plan on that.
What Did I Learn
- Never assume you won’t need your gear on any given day. Always keep your gear with you, even if that means a little bit of inconvenience on those days you may have your car in the shop or your normal routine is off a bit.
- Have backup plans to your backup plans. Sure, I had a backup plan as far as routes home, but even the plan of the plan failed when I ran up onto a flooded road and I didn’t have a GPS or even a paper map, all of which I had removed from my car for the mechanic and to have the car detailed.
- Be sure to have some form of communication. When the battery on my phone was dead so was my chance to call for help. Sure I was in a neighborhood and could have gone up to a house and asked for help or directions, but that is not the ideal for someone who is self reliant and what if it was something worse than a storm, like civil unrest? The last thing you want to do is go up to a strangers home. Normally I have two phones, one for personal one for business, but I had taken a week off from my normal business so I didn’t have that second phone with me.
- Remember the rule, two is one and one is none. Have two or more of everything, including your plan. Make plans for the plans, assume the way you plan it all out will not flow they way you think. Plan as much as possible.
- Practice your plan. In my case, I had a plan for a route through a neighborhood, but didn’t plan for that route to be impassable. Now I will make alternate routes and then practice those routes on good days, not when I am in the middle of a mess.
Don’t read this and say “oh that would never happen to me, I plan and am always prepared.” Yep, that is what I always said to myself when I read similar articles. It can happen to you, part of planning is to plan it doesn’t, don’t just assume it won’t. Learn from people like me who are human, just like you, and who can and do make mistakes.
June 3, 2015 @ 1:37 am
Well, it sounds like you got a wake-up call. Nothing too bad happened to you, but you were reminded of how things could have gone bad. Reality was gentle with you that day – it could have been worse.
This reminds me of the Titanic sinking: disasters are not the result of just one thing going wrong. It was a long series of events going wrong, one after another.
If they had had binoculars, they would have seen the iceberg soon enough to steer around it. If they had been going slower, they could have avoided it. If the water-tight baffles had all been complete, or if they hadn’t left the lifeboats off so as not to spoil the looks of the ship, more people could have been saved. If the other ships in the area had come to rescue them sooner… etc. etc.
There are similar stories about Pearl Harbor, and 9/11, and probably about any other disaster you can name.
Great screw-ups are great because they stand on the shoulders of a huge pile of little screw-ups.
Prudence ~ VigilPrudence.com
June 3, 2015 @ 8:05 am
Hi Finn, yes, I was very lucky that nothing bad happened and the situation was not that severe. You are totally correct, a disaster is a lot of little events. Your titanic example is perfect, it is never due to one specific thing. A series of events adds up to a large disaster. This was a fantastic wake up call for me and I hope my experience and mistakes will help others avoid a similar situation. I can say, my load out is back in the car, I have reviewed all gear, added maps, even updated software on the GPS. I won’t let myself get into that type of situation again. One thing about mistakes, they are fantastic learning events. Thanks so much for your comment.
Know Prepare Survive
August 1, 2017 @ 5:01 pm
“Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.”
– Mike Tyson