Best Laid Plans

Imagine when you get on an airplane, having crammed your bag into the small space at your feet since you’re nearly the last to board and there is no over head space. You are now perched on a hard seat with a three hundred pound ape sitting next to you causing you to lean uncomfortably into the aisle and doomed to be constantly bombarded by the flight attendants throughout the flight as they walk with abandon back and forth for no apparent reason. But you’re glad you’re there, because you’re leaving where you have been and returning home. And though it may be uncomfortable, you know it will only last a little over an hour and then you’ll be out and home in thirty minutes after getting off this small missile in the sky. A warm bed, a beautiful kind wife, and of course two bed hogging puppies await. As you sit there, angled to the aisle, you have nothing to read and so with new interest, you listen intently to the safety briefing. The kind looking flight attendant with the wide hips that have already smacked you twice on the shoulder, reminds us all that should there be such an event that would depressurize the cabin, we are to put our own masks on first before we help others. Simple.

Putting on your mask first, of course, is the logical and best course of action required in that situation. If you are depleted with oxygen, you are highly unlikely to make a rational decision, and risk injuring yourself or someone near you in such an emergency. I also bet, should any of us experience such an emergency, we would likely follow those instructions. Self-preservation after all.

However, life does not come with such instructions, and we are more than often forced to make decisions in life which have not been vetted by a panel of expert engineers from Boeing or NASA. So we are forced to make decisions based on what?

Logic? Sure, weigh the good and the bad, the reward and the risk, and in the end you commit and take action.

Emotion? Yes, perhaps the most common way of making our decisions. What does the heart want? How do you feel about this, that or them? Depending on the day, the event, or merely based on how much sleep you were able to achieve the night before, one of these two – Logic or Emotion – will ultimately win.

So which one has the best plan?

As this writing blog has no pay, I therefore must have a day job. And the company I work for, like just about any other, small or big, makes decisions which we call “business” on an hourly basis that are ruled by logic and emotion. The emotional decisions dream large, grandiose, vibrant and hugely profitable. These ideas are filled with joy, optimism, and huge dollar signs. The logical decisions look at scheduling, dollars spent and dollars achieved. But when the logical decision has a math error, the emotional decisions shift, and now we quarrel amongst ourselves, placing blame if it can be named, or become defensive, guarding our past best laid plans from the hordes climbing the stone walls and reigning fire and brimstone on our visions for the future.

The irony is that no story is told today that has not been told before if we choose to look hard enough into history and learn from it. But that’s the logic talking, and the logic says we should have known those risks, because we are civilized people with higher levels of understanding that our poor caveman relatives never achieved. And logic also tells us that what we thought was a logical decision might actually have been the trickster all along, an emotional decision in disguise.

So is there anything to be said about the best laid plan and the right decision? I heard someone once say that the optimist always looks up, but trips in the crack on the sidewalk. The pessimist always looks down, and walks into the low hanging tree branch. The realist looks straight ahead, and thereby can dodge and weave around any obstacle. At what that really means is that the realist is a pessimist and an optimist; they are emotional and logical.

So what we all should strive for is to be both when faced with a decision. Listening to our hearts allows us to dream the impossible, and yet apply ourselves into making it quite achievable. Listening to our logic, allows us to expand out knowledge, knowing exactly where our limitations reside. Only wish those I work for fully comprehend this.

But on the bright side, when your wife decides to hold a slumber party with the ‘pickin’ girls, the only correct decision would be yes.





Just a guy, happy with life, happy with my wife, dogs, antiques, and a passion for aviation, classic cars, and writing.

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