How to Make Your Self Development Plan Close to “Bulletproof”

How to make your development plan bulletproofAre you a planner?

Why am I asking? Well, let me get to that in a second.

I guess you could think that this is a silly question to ask since one of the missions of this community is to prepare your goals in advance, take action and adjust them if needed while you are moving forward and learning.

But seriously, do you consider yourself being someone who likes to see the endgame (and the path) before moving forward?

If so, then this post is for you.

If not, please continue reading anyway. 🙂 You can let me know afterwards whether you found it helpful or not.

Lesson from the US Air Force

This Tuesday, I was driving in my car listening to a podcast. Nothing unusual for those of you who know me by now.

However, in this podcast, I learned something special. Something about planning ahead. Something that is regularly practiced by the US Air Force. And it makes total sense to me.

Imagine you sit in an airplane, not on a comfy seat enjoying the evening meal. No, in the cockpit of a jet fighter. You are a trained pilot, you have been doing this for years.

Then, all of a sudden, something is going wrong. The engine is failing. (This is just my free imagination, nothing to do with the recent fighter crash in England). Anyway, the engine seems to fail, you no longer have the control over the plane.

What do you do? How do you react?

Well, you have different options. But not a lot of time to react. Your reaction must be instant.

This is one reason why the US Air Force trains its pilots for three possible scenarios. They simulate these scenarios often. So that, you would know immediately how to react when the situation arises in real life.

What are the scenarios? Here they are:

1. Best Case Scenario

2. Most Likely Case Scenario

3. Worst Case Scenario.

This means that every pilot is prepared for what might happen by imagining well before what the possible scenarios could look like and plan them.

Let me ask you a few questions to make this clearer:

What would you do if you had perfect weather for your training practise, no other aircrafts in the area? Would you have the time for additional tests? Possibly.

What would you do if you had a normal cloudy day, no major air traffic and contact with the base? You’d probably complete your flight as originally intended.

What would you do if one of the engines is failing or smoke is coming from the back? Do you continue with your exercises? I hope not. Will you use the parachute to get out of that plane? Yes, you would, because this is what you have trained multiple times before.

You get the picture.

They use these three different scenarios to prepare for anything possible. And this is not to be negative. They just want to be ready and be prepared as much as possible (If you want to get into details you can have a read of the three scenarios they envision for the US Air Force in the 22nd Century – speaking of thinking ahead).


Your Plans

Why am I telling you this?

I believe this is an excellent way for you to achieve what you want to envision for your life. To be already prepared before bad things happen. To be prepared when things go right. How will you spend your money when you get a salary raise?

Now, I don’t mean that you should take this to an extreme. We don’t know what the future holds, we can’t predict – but – we can plan.

This way, when you plan to go on a road trip with your family and you lost the car key, you (or one of your family members) just get out the second key and continue your journey. 🙂

Now, I have a task for us for next time. Think of one of your goals, no matter whether that is personal or business related. Have you mapped out the best scenario? How about adding the worst and the most likely scenario and plan ahead for those? That way you know what to do if you can’t reach that goal – for whatever reason.

Make sure you have the backup plans ready. It doesn’t have to be a document with several pages, no. Note it down in your notebook so that you can refer to it later.


Ready? Go!



  1. For people interested in this, take a look at this video, about adopting stoic practices in the US Army:
    One of the stoic practices is negative visualization (visualising the worst case cenario in a possible situation), so you are prepared for it in case it happens. And the nice thing is that you won’t need to be a soldier or be in a life or death situation to use it!

    • Jantje Bartels says:

      Hey Raul,
      sorry I am a bit late in replying, but thank you for sharing the interesting video! The squirrel story got me 🙂

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge