I’ve finally come around to understanding why my father always talked about having a plan B, C, D, and even Z. It only took me 23 years.
Contingency plans. Back up plans. I like to call them redundancies (I think influenced by reading Nassim Taleb’s anti-fragile?). Back ups of my back ups.
The thing is – things go wrong. Not everything works according to plan. Cliché, cliché, cliché. In practical terms, I’m an officer in the military now. A butter bar with butter fingers. That is to say, I lose things. I forget things. I misplace things that are right in front of me. Sometimes that means that I’m missing a flag patch on my right shoulder. One other, particularly embarrassing time, it meant that I was missing my patrol cover (PC). In those brief flashes of time, no amount of excuses or clichés could save me from the fact that I was out of uniform and that it was usually painfully obvious.
To fix that – I put several redundancies in place. I’ve got three sets of PCs. One on my head, one in my car, and one at home. If I lose one on my head, I replace it from my car, and then buy a new one at the earliest opportunity. I carry an extra flag and unit patch in the pockets, under which my flag patch and unit patch respectively go. As soon as a patch comes off (it comes off with my ruck in the field, for example), I’m able to fix the problem on the spot and go about my day as normal. I have a back up set in my car and two at home (a total of 5 pairs of patches).There have been times where someone else in my training platoon lost a flag patch and I was able lend him one and he’d return it to me the next day.
Redundancies save lives, you know.