Jihae Shin, a researcher at the Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania’s Katherine L. Milkman performed a series of studies that examined how having a backup plan impacts success.
One study group was offered rewards if they did well on a test at the first go-round. Researchers then told all other study groups that they’d have to create backup plans before taking the test, just in case they did not do well. The groups forced to develop backup plans ended up consistently performing worse on the tests than the group who were rewarded for doing well the first time.
The researchers concluded the simple act of thinking through your backup plan could subconsciously reduce your ability to succeed with your initial goal.
When you take the approach of jumping off the cliff backward, there is no going back to the cliff. This means your first and only aim is to land in the water alive so that you can successfully swim your way to your destiny.
People who take this approach are fully committed, and their subconscious mind allows them to dedicate all their energy to plan A rather than dividing their attention between plan A and plan B.
This does not mean becoming irresponsible and disregarding your familial or financial responsibilities. It means nurturing a mental state while you are working towards your goal where success is the only option. If things do not turn out the way you expect, you can reassess your options.
But during the relentless pursuit of your goal, there are no plan Bs.
(Excerpt from my latest book, SPARK: Journey From Success To Significance)