I was listening to Casey Neistat interview on Diary of a CEO, and the host asked Casey what explained the patience and consistency of creators like him and Mr. Beast — what set them apart?
Casey’s answer was simple: he had no back up plan. If he didn’t succeed in the creator agency, he’d have to go back to the place he never wanted to end up: working a minimum wage job at a restaurant. It was a promise he made to himself: whatever he did, he wouldn’t end back up where he started.
And YouTube? That was his only out. There was no back up plan.
A Startling, Scary Notion
Back up plans are created for comfort. We create them because no matter how badly we want plan A to pan out, we know it may not. Some things are outside of our control and protecting ourselves against them feels like the right, most natural thing to do. But what if it held us back?
It’s a conclusion that I can’t help but want to accept. Its implications are scary. The idea that me creating a second choice may very well prevent me from achieving my first makes me think that maybe I shouldn’t have a backup plan.
Of course, then I have to deal with the very anxiety I was trying to remove in the first place. That’s hard.
I think the reasons for why having a plan B can hurt your plan A are twofold.
- You’re quicker to give up on your plan A when you can shift to your plan B
- You spend less time on your plan A, also ensuring that plan B doesn’t fall apart
I think the latter reason is the real driver. Instead of spending all your time building blocks towards plan A, you spend time building blocks towards plan B, so you fall behind. In turn, you then choose plan B as you aren’t as progressed in plan A as you need to be.
So, what do you do?
I think the best thing you can do is to set your fears. Tim Ferriss recommends this practice. Instead of setting goals, you set fears. You understand that you’re taking a risk and things may fall apart.
And for a month, do it. Chase your plan A. Feel the discomfort you feared for so long. If it’s too much, one month away from your plan B won’t hurt much. And if it’s just right, keep going.