Being flexible and able to quickly shift gears to a “Plan B” mode is not only a key to success, but also an indicator of how physically and emotionally healthy you are.
My father, a Horatio Alger type success story, who didn’t graduate from high school, often told me to never give up when things don’t work out as planned. There are always other options available. Wise advice and so true. Sometimes Plan B can be just as good, if not better, than Plan A.
Over the years, I have watched friends and/or clients fall apart when plans go awry—sometimes over very minor things. They may get so stuck and paralyzed in what happened or could have been, that they oftentimes are unable to move forward. Eventually we all experience the loss of money, careers, possessions, and/or relationships. Nothing is finite. Staying malleable is key.
I recalled this sage advice a few weeks ago when I was passing through the Roma Termini train station in Italy and all my money, credit cards, and driver’s license were stolen, leaving me penniless.
Let me back up and explain. I wanted to take a scenic train ride through the countryside of Italy, so instead of making a flight connection between Rome and Pisa, I opted for a 3+ hour train ride through the rolling hills of Tuscany.
I should have been immediately clued in to potential danger when a seemingly nice man, under the pretense of giving travelers directions, tried to grab my suitcase and help show me the way to the terminal’s ladies room. I had to practically arm wrestle my luggage back from him, which I did.
This was almost immediately followed by another encounter as I waited on the train platform watching for my track number to be displayed. A young woman, sporting a tummy bump, came up to me, her hands folded in prayer beseeching Santa Lucia and Santa Maria, begging me for a few coins for medical care for her unborn child.
I knew she was conning me. In fact, I was pretty sure that tummy bump was either a pasta belly or foam padding, but I had to give it to her for really working her act. I pulled out my wallet and gave her one Euro, for performance factor alone. She continued thanking me just as my train track was called and I had to make a quick dash.
I barely managed a seat on the packed train and as it pulled out of the station, I opened my purse looking for that package of M&M peanuts I had purchased for the long ride. Not only were my M&Ms gone, but so was my wallet. My passport, in a separate zippered pocket, was thankfully still there.
From a remote viewing perspective, I flashed on the beggar woman thanking me for the Euro I had given her, while another woman was reaching into my purse from behind, seconds after putting my wallet away. Despite the fact that my purse strap was placed across my chest, the opening firmly closed, they had still managed to rob me undetected—even steal my candy.
Unfortunately, no one had warned me about the Romanian gypsies who work in teams throughout the Roma train station. The place is a virtual den of thieves, but I hadn’t seen any of the warning signs they allegedly post in the terminal. Welcome to Italy!
And so, on my first day in Italy, I was alone without money (they took about $1100 in cash) as well as my credit cards. There was no going back, only forward. My mind immediately shifted to Plan B mode. From the train, I started calling my credit companies to cancel my cards. I knew it would be too risky to have replacement cards sent overnight to where I was going. Neither could I have my assistant, back home, Western Union me sufficient travel funds. The situation looked bleak.
It then occurred to me that there was someone in Italy who owed me money and they had planned on giving me a bank check upon meeting up. Instead of holding on to the check for deposit later in the U.S., I hoped I could find a way to cash it for Euros. This option seemed the most viable and it in fact worked after some Italian bank maneuvering. As a result, I had a great vacation on those funds.
While I was able to pull off a successful Plan B solution, sometimes it’s not always that easy. I know I will never retrieve the lost money the gypsies stole from me. It was a rather expensive lesson in how easily one can be duped, yet I still manage to laugh at it. Out of something bad can always come something good. I did manage to meet a rather handsome Carabinieri police commander who helped me make a loss report for U.S. tax and insurance purposes. My meeting him and his second in command, then proved to be a useful connection for my Italy friend. This became a true example of how we are all interconnected.
There are those who believe you should never have a Plan B. That you should always stay focused on your Plan A goal and never give up. But let’s face it, life doesn’t always go as we plan it. Sometimes our higher self has other lessons in store for us that we never see coming.
Moving to Plan B is not a coward’s fall-back plan. It serves a purpose, a purpose that a strategist has envisioned and planned before the need for an alternate solution surfaces. Sometimes a Plan B occurs out of the necessity of the moment and you just have to go with the flow. It truly can be about how fast one can think on their feet and handle their new life plan.
One of my friends told me that the Dali Lama once said: “I can have great compassion for those in distress, but it doesn’t mean I have to invite them to dinner.” To me it means I don’t have to help every beggar on the street. I’ve learned that sometimes the people I have helped the most in life, come back to bite me later. This doesn’t mean turning one’s back on helping people truly in need, but it does point to a lesson of being more discerning about who we do and do not choose to help. Taking this to a global scale, being discerning as to what information is truthful and what is not is an important part of enlightenment and self-discovery—something we are all working on.
During my stay in Italy, my friends started proposing everything in terms of, “Okay. What’s our Plan B?” There were even times we had to move to a Plan C and even Plan D. It’s important to remember that life is often an exercise in the art of flexibility.
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Dr. Kathy Forti is a clinical psychologist, inventor of the Trinfinity8 technology, and author of the book, Fractals of God: A Psychologist’s Near-Death Experience and Journeys Into the Mystical