Flight Plan

Each and every single day we set out to accomplish our goals.  Whether menial or grand, routine or complex, we are faced with many hurdles in the attainment of these goals, and this is the basis of Flight Plan: The Real Secret of Success.

As the moniker suggests, the well-known author Brian Tracy compares goal setting with the routine process of filing a flight plan which all airline pilots are required to do.  As flight plans are filed they cover many, if not all, the areas one may encounter in the journey to a destination by air.  In-flight, we may encounter an emergency or a crisis, turbulence, failure, time delays, headwinds, rerouting, endurance, and even failure in reaching a destination that we have set out.

Similarly, while in pursuit of our goals, we may encounter some of the very same obstacles.  Tracy explains how simply writing a plan increases the likelihood of success.  Each chapter highlights the areas of planning and execution, and is a manual of sorts guiding you to properly design a plan and check it along the way.  The book highlights that once you have chosen where you want to go, you must then work towards your goal by preparing, taking action, and planning for any challenges while making course corrections along the way, just as an aircraft does.

The Big Idea

The Big Idea: The biggest takeaway from the book

We are off course 99% of the time

"In life you will be off course most of the time.  No matter how carefully you plan and organize in advance, your life will be a series of two steps forward and one step back."
- Flight Plan, page 4

What many fail to realize, in fact, is that an aircraft is also off course 99% of the time despite the smooth uneventful flight that (usually) occurs. In the attainment of our own goals we always expect that same uneventful experience.  By recognizing that we are off course 99% of the time, we are forced to realize that we must make constant course corrections to achieve our desired outcome.  Most experienced pilots know full well that a crisis may be around the corner and the only way to avert it is to be prepared for it.  Tracy highlights that this must be the same mindset that is required to ensure that we stay on track.  Failure to draw out a plan may result in the eventual arrival at an unintended outcome, or worse, a full blown disaster.

Insight #1

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

More than you ever imagined possible

"In order for you to reach this unlimited potential, your first and greatest responsibility to yourself is to become absolutely clear about what it is that you really want.  When you are absolutely clear about who you are, what you want, and where you want to go, you will accomplish ten times as must as the average person, and much faster as well."
- Flight Plan, page 8

This is a hugely powerful statement.  Very early on in the book Tracy gets right to the point.  He alludes to the fact that there is an unmistakable hallmark of success, which is, that when we decide to do something and take action we are embarking on a successful journey.

He also reminds us that we are capable.  If we take a menial task such as making a sandwich, we rarely fail in putting the ingredients together.  The reason is that each motor neuron that has fired in assembling the sandwich has, in fact, been perfecting itself for decades:  hand eye coordination, preference of ingredients, understanding of food safety handling, artistic flair, appliance knowledge, safe knife handling.  The list is endless and the execution is seamless.

This routine, however, can go drastically wrong with the slip of a knife, let’s say.  By planning and having everything in place, should an accident arise, we may mitigate the loss or change and also prepare for success.  The fact that we have the ability to achieve absolutely anything is true.  Once you break down the steps, as in making a sandwich, everything becomes clear.  The major stumbling block is when we fail to realize that each and every step requires a great deal of preparation and effort.  In order to accomplish the difficult things in life, break it down into baby steps.

Insight #2

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

Take off at full throttle

"If a plane went any less than full throttle, it would never reach takeoff speed.  The plane would keep going until it ran out of runway without ever rising into the air."
- Flight Plan, page 60

Essentially, the book presents itself as a guide on how to simply plan and prepare for any goal.  The most obvious analogy is pointed out by using this Gem. By failing to use all the power necessary in taking off, an aircraft would never take off.  Certainly, this is subjective in life, and by doing so Brian Tracy points out the difference.   Essentially, the flight plan calls for a series of events that need to take place in succession for a flight to be properly executed.  A huge part of this Gem properly illustrates, partially through the use of the flight analogy, that in order to get going one often needs to harvest huge amounts of energy or be forever stuck never taking off.  Next time you are working on a specific goal, ask yourself before you start: Am I all in?  If you’re not ready to invest all of your energy, it may not be worth pursuing.


The message of the book is that you need to spend every ounce of energy to ensure you have planned out your journey by knowing where you want to go and how you are going to get there.  The book, however, doesn’t stop there.  It really hits home that you must go after what you want and go at it with full force.

The book allows you to properly visualize the end of the flight after having reached your destination.  If you are looking to get somewhere, whether in your personal life, business life, or simply in order to reach an objective that you desire, this is the book for you.  Tracy illustrates that while being prepared for anything you still risk not being prepared for the unknown, and he directs the reader to believe that chance favours the prepared mind and that the key to victory is to plan for turbulence and to persist until you succeed.

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Gregoire James

ABOUT Gregoire James

WHO ARE YOU? Gregoire James is President & CEO of GeneraCycle Inc. a small start up with a big question. Why do we have landfill? GeneraCycle's Vision is, “a 100% landfill free globe by 2040...
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