If you have been following this series, I apologise for the hiatus. Firstly, I thought my battle with covid was over after the first symptoms abated but it stretched on for over 3 weeks. Secondly, I was overwhelmed by a backlog of academic work occasioned by the illness. However, I am fine now and can resume our weekly series.
In Serie VIII, I wrote that some obstacles could possibly emerge as you build on your success habits. I outlined the 4 A’s; Anticipate, Allocate, Adapt, and Act as a strategy to deal with potential problems. It is a term borrowed from the Canadian neo-dimensional approach to improving effectiveness in the military. I also wrote about anticipating these problems. I will now go on to discuss the allocation of resources to tackle them as they arise.
Firstly, I don’t believe in “expecting the worst”. It is a negative attitude to have. There is a marked difference between anticipating potential issues that may hinder your progress and expecting the worst. Having a positive mental attitude is wise advice and success conscious people are usually optimists.
However, you have to be careful not to mix up the fantasy with optimism. It is equally as important to set a realistic schedule to achieve a worthwhile goal. That way, chances are that the obstacles that may come up will be surmountable because you are somewhat prepared to make the best out of the situation. All that is needed is a little resourcefulness and progress will be the likely result.
I have a simple approach to problem-solving because it always comes down to 2 major resources, time and money. So what do I do? I often pick the upper limit in the proposed amount of budgeted money or time.
If it’s a problem that money can solve. It is advisable to get an estimate from an expert if it’s beyond you. Then choose the upper limit. For instance, I recently did some repairs on my car. The dashboard indicator kept flashing red lights for the ABS sensor and at a point, I started seeing the warnings about driving stability. After running the diagnostics my electrician estimated that it could cost about €200 but might be up to €300 to fix.
As is often the case with estimates, it turned out to be the higher estimate. Anticipating the worst meant that it was not a huge shock. I would have smiled more if the repair bill had been less than €300, but that’s still ok, the most important thing is getting the job done with the budgeted allocation.
Do the same with time. Allocate more time and if you accomplish the task in less, then use the remainder for another worthwhile task.
Now it becomes a problem when you exhaust the budgeted resources without finishing the job. Don’t worry, we will discuss this in our next strategy. For now, let’s try to internalise choosing the upper limit when we are faced with a budget for problem-solving.