Plan For the Unexpected

In the movie Entrapment, Mac, played by Sean Connery, and Gin, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones, have engineered a masterplan to embezzle 8 billion dollars from a bank. Gin had been planning this monumental theft for years and partnered with Mac to ensure she would succeed in her mission.

On d-day, Mac shows Gin his plan B, should they face challenges with plan A. However, convinced that plan A is impeccable and that nothing can go wrong with that plan, Gin tells Mac that there’s no need for plan B. To which Mac replies, “Something always goes wrong.”

The idea here is that there are always unexpected events. Thus, there’s a need for contingency plans.

Expect the Unexpected

This part of the movie stayed with me. Although I don’t endorse Mac and Gin’s plans and actions, I see some truth in what Mac said.

In fact, no matter how organized you are, no matter how far in advance you plan, no matter how perfect you think your plan is, you’ll have to deal with unforeseen events and with situations that are out of your control. They catch you off guard and seek to push you off track.

Don’t be surprised when that happens; it’s part of pursuing great goals.

Prepare for the Unexpected

As you plan, consider that you may have to deal with the unexpected situations. Give yourself enough space (i.e. enough time, money, energy, and other resources), should you experience setbacks and delays, as you’ll often do.

For example, don’t plan to complete your project at the very last minute. Give yourself a buffer of a few days—if not a few weeks—in case you experience delays.

Also, as part of your plan, consider alternative options (i.e. plan B, C,…) in case your main option (plan A) fails or becomes impractical because of a new reality.

Deal With the Unexpected

Despite your best efforts to plan thoroughly and leave nothing to chance, sometimes, an unexpected situation, for which you had no contingency plan, comes from out from left field. In these cases, you must be flexible and adapt to the new reality. If you’re stubborn and insist on sticking to an outdated plan, you waste a lot of time and put yourself (and others) to suffer great frustration.

When you tap into your creativity, often, you can come up with ingenious solutions, which can sometimes turn out to be even better than your initial plan.

Flexibility and creativity are key ingredients in dealing with the unexpected. The flexible and creative mind will always find a way out; it will always find a solution. Don’t focus on the problem. Let your imagination take you to places you never expected.

In the end, although I don’t support their mission, Mac and Gin succeeded because Mac had the right mindset: plan for the unexpected.