The unconscious logic of the plan paradox

You’ve probably heard a few expressions on this theme, perhaps most elegantly summed up as:

“Plans are nothing. Planning is everything.”

It seems paradoxical, but it’s simple enough.

Reality has a cheeky habit of not complying to your plans. It’s far too complicated for you to predict in advance. Even if your plan is flexible and covers the common cases, it won’t cover all the things that can happen.

So what you plan to do and what you do won’t be the same.

But even knowing this, plans have two advantages:

They give you the means to begin.

They cultivate the raw fodder you need to adapt.

In coming up with a plan, you have to consider your options. Even the simplest plan – like what to have for lunch – involves thinking things through.

Complex plans might take days of research. If the plan is bigger than one person, like curing a disease or invading a country, it could take decades.

During that time, you load your brain with information, see the connections and make assessments on it.

That’s what allows you to adapt – why ‘planning’ is everything, even when plans are nothing more than fiction.

You probably know all this stuff – even if you’ve never thought it through before.

But take a moment to really consider what happens:

You have a plan in the back of your mind. You go to follow it and something forces you to adapt.

How long does it take for you to settle on a new path?

A few seconds, if that?

How often is that new course of action as good, if not better, than what you had in mind?

Your brain can go from surprised to decisive – from having no idea what to do, to following a new plan – in the span of a heartbeat.

What’s truly fantastic is how mundane that is.

You’ve had moments where you had to think on your feet – probably today. After all, what is a conversation but spontaneously reacting to what happens?

You might think it’s impossible to improve this process. Sure, you can gather better data and think about it more… but how to you encourage your unconscious mind to think clearer and faster?

Isn’t it… you know, unconscious?


And by quieting your mind and tuning in to this inner voice you know you can trust, you’ll find yourself hearing your gut instincts so much better.

If you can’t hear the radio, you don’t have to turn up the volume when you can stop the street noise.

That’s the benefit of the Neural Reset in a sentence:

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