Having a 'Plan B' can hurt your chances of success

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by Plazma Inferno!, Jul 20, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

    A new research suggests preparing a backup plan can increase the odds you’ll need it.
    A paper previously published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes found that a backup plan can reduce the effort you put forth to achieve a goal, thus hurting your chances of achieving it. Most people think that making a backup plan is always a good idea, and previous scholarship has focused almost exclusively on the benefits of planning. However, a latest study highlight an unintended cost of making backup plans: a lower chance of successfully achieving your primary goal.
    Investigation started with a simple survey at a large east-coast train station. Researchers approached people who were waiting for trains, asking them to write about a goal they were pursuing and how much effort they were putting forth towards achieving their goal. Then, participants were asked if they had made a backup plan for their goal. Analyzing the data, researchers found that the people who had made a backup plan were putting forth less effort towards achieving their goals. Although this finding was consistent with previous hunch about the risks of making backup plans, correlation does not equal causation. It’s possible that people who were working less hard towards their goal were more likely to make a backup plan because they knew they were more likely to need one. Or maybe, people who didn’t really care much about goal achievement to begin with were putting in less effort and were more likely to make a backup plan.


    Paper: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749597816302096
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  3. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    I plan to drive from A to B but the bridge is out. My backup plan would have been to go the long way around by way of C - but supposedly that would reduce my chances of reaching B, so I just sit and wait for them to fix the bridge.

    Not the dumbest conclusion I've ever heard but it's in the running.
    Plazma Inferno! likes this.
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  5. Ivan Seeking Registered Senior Member

    This is why Cortez burned his ships.
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