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Don’t Live For Your Plan B

I was catching up with an old friend a few weeks ago, and as we were looking back, we talked about goals and dreams we had when we were kids.

​​We laughed at how the world has changed, and as he reminisced how we thought his life would turn out – he discovered and regretted that he never achieved his Plan A. He found that he always had one excuse or another for getting sidetracked from pursuing his career. Distracted from Plan A, he defaulted to Plan B – the safe plan but not exactly the plan he dreamt of.

My friend’s story is not uncommon. Many Americans have dreams, but they often settle for second best because it’s the safe bet. Instead of going for their dreams, they listen to the naysayers and to “common sense” and end up living a life of disappointment.

I don’t think you should ever pursue anything but your Plan A. If you take away Plan B – your safety net – you’ll commit to Plan A wholeheartedly, which is what it will take to be successful. Do not create a Plan B, the temptation to settle will be too great.

Here’s a cautionary tale of why you shouldn’t have a Plan B:

​​Have you ever heard of Ed “Booger” Smith? Smith was a legendary street baller. Standing at only 5’10, Smith overcame his physical limitation by working harder than everyone else. Smith even had a movie made about him when he was 17 years old called “Soul in the Hole.” He was so good that he even made the cover of Sports Illustrated. Scouts had no doubts that Smith could play in the NBA. There was just one problem – Smith’s Plan B.

NBA Teams were scared away from signing Smith because he was upfront about his backup plan if the NBA didn’t work out: “I think that when I said that if I didn’t make the NBA, I’d be a drug dealer, people got scared of that,” said Booger. The rest is, as they say, history. Smith would have achieved his plan A had he not had a Plan B – let alone one that involved dealing drugs.

Like Booger Smith, my friend had big dreams, goals, and ideas. He wanted to travel the world and spend time at home with his growing family, but he settled for Plan B – the safe plan.

Society tells you to go to college, work an average job, get a couple of promotions, put a little away in a 401k, and so on. That’s not what people want. Nobody dreams of mediocrity, but society tells them it’s safe. But with so many Americans retiring with inadequate funds to last through retirement, is Plan B the safe path?

Are you settling for Plan B right now? What were your dreams when you were young? What are your dreams and goals now?

We live in the most exciting times where opportunity is at every turn.

I urge you – no, I EXHORT you to accept the assignment to pursue your plan A. They may be old dreams or new goals – whatever they are, follow them! Stop the cycle of living in mediocrity (Plan B).

Life is too short to settle for Plan B. Make your Plan A and go for it.

​​If you want financial independence freedom from superiors at work, take away the safety net. Don’t have a Plan B, and you’ll have no choice but to pursue Plan A with all your heart. You’ll be glad you did.



Mike Ayala has owned and operated mobile home parks since 2007, and has been active in construction and management since he was 15 years old. He graduated from the Associated Builders and Contractors 4-year project management program at age 22 and then became a licensed instructor. He is also the host of the Investing for Freedom podcast.