As the famous saying goes, “He who fails to plan plans to fail.” Success is never an accident, and failure is not always a coincidence. Success is achieved by making good decisions over some time consistently, while Failure comes around when one makes terrible decisions continuously over some time. As former United States President Dwight Eisenhower once quipped, “In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” It is not enough to have a plan; one must relentlessly execute it. Before his fight against Evander Holyfield, former heavyweight champion Iron Mike Tyson was asked by a reporter if he was worried about Holyfield’s fight plan. He said: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
When you have a plan, that does not mean that the challenges and vicissitudes of life will not affect you. You cannot control the weather, but you can control the clothing that you wear in the weather. One of the hallmarks of the highly successful is their ability to follow through on their plan. Anyone can set a goal or life plan, but it is as worthless as the paper it is written on until the plan is executed.
American Swimmer Micheal Phelps is the most successful and most decorated Olympian of all time, with 28 medals. He also holds multiple records, such as the all-time records for Olympic gold medals (23), Olympic gold medals in individual events (13), and Olympic medals in individual events (16). In his book, No Limits: The Will to Succeed 1, Phelps describes how he visualizes, imagines, plans and sets goals for himself. He writes:
Every year since I have been swimming competitively, I have set goals for myself. In writing. The goal sheet was mandatory. I got used to it and it became a habit. When I was younger, I used to scribble my goals out by hand and show the sheet to Bob. Now, I might type them on my laptop and e-mail him a copy.
Each year, he would take a look at what I’d given him, or sent him, and that would be that. He wouldn’t challenge me, say this one’s too fast or that one’s not. When I was doing this only on paper, he typically would look at it and give it back to me; now he simply files away the electronic copy I send him. I usually kept my original paper version by the side of my bed. The two of us are the only ones who have it, who ever got to see it.
While it’s important to make a plan, the best realize that sometimes their first plan gets blown to smithereens, and they have to respond by making a new plan. Confidence is the belief that you can do what is demanded. When you’re elite, you need to be holistic. You need to have a plan for everything. You need to train it all.
- Daily Calm with Tamara Levitt -Hiraeth
- Hiraeth is a Welsh word which means a deep longing for something, especially one’s home, nostalgia, grief for the lost places in your past.
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