Yesterday I was listening to an interview with the CEO of a well-known company. He referred to a book called Plan B. The book documents that many Silicon Valley firms have a history of pursuing their initial objectives with little success. Yet as they struggled forward they discover some pattern that causes them to redefine their work. They move to plan B. Often it is plan B that makes them successful.
He gave an example of a company that designed a product for use in homes. They began to notice that people were using the product in businesses. Because they were committed to plan A, they actually found the business people to be an annoyance. It took them three years to discover that the business users were a bigger potential market than the home users. They went to plan B and exploded into a highly successful company.
I often call this “building the bridge as you walk on it.” As I move forward, learning by faith, I feel vulnerable and I pay great attention to the feedback I receive. If I use the feedback to make adjustments and progress, it may lead me to the purpose I initially envisioned.
The plan B concept adds another dimension to the learning journey. In moving forward, my commitment to the original formulation of my purpose may blind me to opportunities that my journey is creating. When my awareness expands and I see the opportunity, I may select it. The selection may be a big shift in strategy or it may actually be a shift in purpose. My very identity is altered. Religious conversion is an example, post traumatic growth is another.
So having a purpose and pursuing it by faith gives me experiences. I may think they are bad experiences. If I cherish all my experiences and reflect on them deeply, they will begin to work for my good, because I will learn and grow.
It begins to become clear, that having experiences and reflecting on them with appreciation, is the integration of faith and learning. It is the motor of progression. When we are learning in real time is when we are most alive.