No Plan Survives Contact with the Enemy

Enemies are everywhere, and they don’t always carry a sword. Deadlines can be enemies. So can big projects. Birthday parties. Books…roleplaying game sessions. And let’s not forget about actual ruffians who want to cause you harm. A plan of attack can help you in your endless struggle, but don’t over plan. No plan survives contact with the enemy.

The only books and games I’ve ever finished had only the barest of outlines. Jadepunk had chapter headings, plus a few section headings that Jake and I knew we wanted to include.

Don’t Plan, Drill

Martial artists have a joke that if your training is complicated, during a fight you’ll be trying to figure technique number or “one-step” is needed in this situation.

A more realistic method to train is to drill responses to angles. Drill them over and over and over and over. Then, when something comes at that angle, it hits all by itself. If it’s good enough for Bruce Lee…

Plans of attack are not all that efficient in combat. They help to form a general strategy, but adaptation is far more important. The same is true for every other activity in life.

Embracing Spontaneity

It’s not just a good work ethic, or method of self-defense, spontaneous people are happier people. Why? Who knows. I like to think it’s because they are living life rather than planning it.

Ever planned a workout and diet program that you never followed? That’s the plan not surviving contact with the enemy.

My Arch-Nemesis

For me, the biggest enemy that I plan and plan and plan for is writing. I make detailed outlines that never see the light of day. But ask me to run a roleplaying game on the fly and I can do it. In fact, I can’t GM a game that I’ve planned. I don’t know why. I just can’t. And, apparently, I can’t write a book that I’ve planned, either.

Embracing Spontaneity = Embracing Life


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