3 Reasons Why You Don’t Need a Backup Plan

Dan McDaniel November 7, 2013 2
3 Reasons Why You Don’t Need a Backup Plan

“If you want to own the island, burn the bridges.” -Tony Robbins

At age 19, I dropped out of school (after earning over $100k in scholarships and grants), quit my full-time job in sales, and made a huge confession on national television.

I wanted to be bold. I wanted to be brave. I wanted to be courageous.

But my parents thought I was crazy. My friends didn’t understand me. And I found myself at a crossroads. You see, I wanted to be a writer. But my friends and family wanted me to have a backup plan.

We human beings value safety. We always want to feel secure. When given the option to live safely in mediocrity versus the option to live bravely in achievement, most people choose the first option.

But not me. And you shouldn’t either…



These are the 3 reasons why you should never have a backup plan.

1. A backup plan is a plan to fail.

“Act as though it were impossible to fail.” -Dorothea Brande

The more energy you put into crafting a backup plan, the less effort you are putting into your dream plan. The cold hard truth is: your backup plan could become your career, and your career could become your destiny.

After fighting your way out of poverty while in college, are you really going to give up that $40,000/yr. job offer? And after you’ve worked for two more years, are you really going to give up that $60,000/yr. promotion?

Of course not. (After all, you’ve got student loans to pay!)

Before you know it, you’ll be 60 years old, cashing in your 401(k), wondering where all that time went.

2. Backup plans decrease motivation.

Your success in life is in direct proportion to your desire to succeed. When you are safe and secure, you tend to get comfortable and lose sight of your goals.

But when you put everything on the line, when you risk your health, your sanity, and your livelihood for your dreams, then you succeed.

In the words of YouTube sensation Eric Thomas, “You can only succeed when you want it as badly as you want to breathe.”

3. Backup plans are a massive waste of time.

Instead of wasting time trying to minimize risk, spend your time trying to maximize achievement. Energy flows where your attention goes. Focus solely on your desired outcome and failure will never be an option.

Backup plans are simply plans to fail. They decrease your motivation and waste your time. They make you feel secure but ultimately leave you ailing with regret. Please don’t have a backup plan. Instead, bet on yourself.


Dan McDaniel is the author of Extreme Honesty: Reflections of a Nineteen-Year-Old Philosopher and the founder of ExtremeHonesty.com, the web’s #1 vlog for personal and professional development.


Quick Tip

Have a dream. Always have a life dream that you can envision yourself living someday. All great things started off as a dream.


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  1. avatar
    Sebastian November 12, 2013 at 3:12 am - Reply

    “But when you put everything on the line, when you risk your health, your sanity, and your livelihood for your dreams, then you succeed”

    I agree with this so much. That’s where I am right now. Plan B only distracts you from Plan A. Burn all bridges so you have only one option – succeed.

    • Alex Hamm
      Alex Hamm November 14, 2013 at 2:46 am - Reply

      So glad you agree Sebastian! Let me know what other articles you’d like to see 🙂

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