Flight Plan

Summary Written by Gregoire James

The Big Idea

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

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.

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Insight #2

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.

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Brian Tracy

Brian Tracy is Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, a company specializing in the training and development of individuals and organizations.

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