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.


3 thoughts on “Redundancy

  1. Pingback: Redundancy –

  2. What most people don’t know is that the notion “plan B” has nothing to do with having a second option but was relation to the German chancellor Otto von Bismarck, who was famous for taking everything into consideration and who was always having options at his hand in case his opponents did not swallow what he was offering them in the fist place.

    • Oliver – that’s fascinating – where did you learn that?

      Also – don’t link your blog in your comment; it tends to send your comment to the spam section.


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