“Why “No Plan B” Is The Only Plan” by Anderson Cooper

My wife sent me this article on Fast Company and after reading the first three paragraphs I was excited and saying to myself, “This is what I need to do!” So many of us say that but then don’t have the courage to follow through. I am currently struggling with what I want to do with my future, and this blog is evidence enough that I know what’s good for me, what I’m interested in, and that I shouldn’t let fear of the future and the “insecurity of security” stop me from driving towards something I’m passionate about. It is all easier said than done to sound cliché. I’ll share a few of the highlights from the article but it’s more than worth the 10 minutes it will take you to read the whole thing.

  1. I felt lost, to say the least. I asked my mother what she thought I should do for work. “Follow your bliss,” she said, quoting Joseph Campbell. But what was “my bliss?”
  2. I wanted to do something that had a purpose. I wanted to lead an interesting life. I wanted to learn new things every day. I wanted to travel. But even though I was in touch with what I wanted, I had trouble taking a first step. I felt that any move I made would close off other opportunities, and I became obsessed with the notion of keeping my options open. (This goes back directly to the insecurity of security as discussed in “10% Happier”. I feel the same way in that I know what I want, I just don’t know what it looks like yet.)
  3. I had talked to enough successful people to know that the path to success is often meandering. It can appear to be a series of random events and only in retrospect can one look back and connect the dots. (Malcolm Gladwell in “What the Dog Saw” briefly talks about this in terms of intelligence agencies and how many events, when viewed in retrospect, are much easier to decipher than before they actually happen.)
  4. Sometimes you have to do something drastic to change people’s perception of you.
  5. I’m a big believer in creating your own opportunity if no one gives you one.
  6. I understood what the people were going through a lot better than I would have without experiencing what I did.
  7. I rarely ask people for advice or permission when I’m planning on doing something I feel strongly about. That only opens the plan up to be crapped on. (Bounce that off some of the lessons in “Good Boss, Bad Boss” and try to make your workplace a better place to be. Check out “Work Happy” as well)
  8. I’ve tried to eliminate fear from my life as much as possible. If there’s something I’m nervous about, I try to plunge head first into it.
  9. Had I asked the producers at Channel One if they would be supportive of my going out to make war videos, they would have probably said no. It’s easier to say no than it is to say yes, and they might not have wanted to feel responsible for me in any way. So I just did it.
  10. I’d much rather follow my gut, do something, and if it doesn’t work out, have it crapped on then.
  11. It seems like a lot of people, especially young ones, are imbued with the sense that they can become successful (however they define it) in some sudden, magical way. Some people do… Most people sweat it out for years and encounter some degree of humiliation and failure along the way. (But it’s our response to that failure that leads to our success. “Mindset” discusses a fixed vs. growth mindset. Other books like “The Upside of Down”, “The Hard Thing About Hard Things”, and “Zero to One” that all discuss how nothing is ever great on the first try. It could take hundreds of iterations to get it “right” and even then, it’s not perfect.)
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