The Best Laid Plans… Are Flexible

Forgive me for the long absence (it’s been a week since my last post). In fact, I even missed my weekly cognitive bias yesterday. I’ve been out of town for the last couple of weeks. In fact, the last post I wrote was on a train from Toronto to Ottawa. Nonetheless, something happened this weekend that I think makes for a perfect post. (Note: look for the weekly cognitive bias in tomorrow’s post.)

On Sunday morning, I was scheduled to drive from Ottawa back to the DC area. I was in Ottawa for my brother-in-law’s wedding. As Saturday was a rather late night, waking up early and heading back to DC didn’t seem like a good idea, so I woke up without an alarm. Upon waking, I was still pretty tired. As a result, I didn’t get on the road until later than anticipated.

After driving through New York, I was pretty tired. I still had about 5 hours to go and it was nearing the seven o’clock hour. Normally, I would have thought to myself, ‘I’ve gotta get home — push through this.’ Just as an aside: I’ve done quite a bit of ‘long drives’ in my day. I grew up in the Greater Toronto Area and went to school in mid-Michigan, so there were frequent trips back and forth. I’ve also driven across the US twice (remember these two posts?) and back and forth from DC to Toronto or DC to Ottawa.

So, long drives aren’t foreign to me. In fact, of the long drives I’ve done, I can only remember once stopping in a hotel for the night. That was on a drive from Virginia Beach back to mid-Michigan. I was down in Virginia Beach over New Year’s for a conference and when I made my way into Ohio, there was a pretty bad snow storm that made the driving difficult. Instead of pushing through at the end of a long trip, I decided to stay the night somewhere. I was really happy with that decision. Back to this past Sunday.

I’ve got about 5 hours to get back to DC, it’s around 7 o’clock, and I’m still really tired from the night before. I reviewed my Monday schedule to remind myself that I didn’t have any obligations on Monday until the afternoon. I weighed the cons and pros of driving to DC, while still being quite tired. In the end, it didn’t seem worth it — I stopped in Scranton for the night.

What’s the takeaway?

Plans can change. New data are unending and it’s important to notice that. At the 
start of my trip last week, I would have — without a doubt — planned on driving back to DC sans stops. However, with the late night on Saturday and the late start 
to the drive on Sunday, by the time dinnertime on Sunday rolled around, I was ready to grab some grub and hit the sack.

My point here is that it’s important to stay flexible even when you have an idea of how something “should be.”

Note #1: If you’d like a different perspective on the matter of how something “should be,” I’d urge you to read this: “We’ll See…

Note #2: I should say that I wasn’t alone on this drive. My lovely wife was with me and it was our mutual decision to stop in Scranton. Although, we’ve been known to drive straight through on many occasions.

Published by Jeremiah Stanghini

Jeremiah's primary aim is to provide readers with a new perspective. In the same vein as the "Blind Men and the Elephant," it can be difficult to know when one is looking at the big picture or if one is simply looking at a 'tusk' or a 'leg.' He writes on a variety of topics: psychology, business, science, entertainment, politics, history, etc.

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