Contingencies: Making Peace with Probability

  1. Contingency Planning
  2. Contingencies: Commander’s Intent
  3. Contingencies: Plan a Graceful Exit
  4. Contingencies: Making Peace with Probability
  5. Contingencies: The Chrysalis Cycle

The first thing you need to learn to be adaptable is to make your peace with the idea that nothing, no matter how good it is, is going to last. But this applies equally to bad things, too, so that should make you feel better, right?

All joking aside, you absolutely must make peace with the concept that life cannot be anticipated. It doesn’t matter if you believe in fate or causality, chaos theory trumps them both. I’m not suggesting you sit there jittery and depressed, like a rat awaiting its next electric shock. Accepting this as true is the first thing you need to do in order work strategically around it.

You remember the part in Karate Kid where Mr Miyagi and Daniel are out in the boat and Miyagi rocks it to teach Daniel to balance?   That’s the core principle behind making peace with uncertainty: Maintain your centre.


The biggest reason we have trouble staying centred is that we’re not in the present. Usually, we’re planning, or to put it less kindly, worrying. The time for planning is before you start. When you’re actually executing, you’re simply watching to see which scenario will play out. And if it’s completely unexpected, you’ll still be comfortable enough with the implications of such a variety of occurences that you’ll know intuitively which way to jump — as long as you’re centred in the moment, with things as they are, instead of what they might be, or especially, what you erroneously think they’re going to be.

Look at it this way, when you move your body without being centred, you’re pretty likely to lose your balance and land on your face. This is especially apt to happen if your progress (versus your effort) is being accelerated by, say, skates or skis. If your centre of gravity isn’t where your feet are, you only have to make one mistake on the terrain, and you’re eating dirt.

My point, (and I do have one) is that when you get swept up in a project, particularly with other people who add to your momentum, you have to be particularly mindful to keep your feet under you.

[ssbp]

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