How Do You Respond to a Change in Plans?

by Ryan Biddulph

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“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” ~ Mike Tyson

At about 12:40 PM today I decided to turn around on a hike. My wife asked if we should double-back on the trail we took in or take another path leading out to a main road. New park. We hiked in this Massachusetts state park for the first time.

I pondered doubling-back – as we always do – but chose to walk the main path out to a main road.

Nearly 3 and a half hours later I arrived home.


My wife and I experienced a big change in plans. We planned to be home after a roughly 90 minute hike. But getting lost – the first change in our planned day – resulted in a hike well over 3 hours. Plus I had to walk the goats when we returned to the house.

How did I handle the change in plans? Per usual, I calmly, flexibly and open-mindedly rolled with change. Life is change. Either gracefully flow with change or fight change like a fool. Iron Mike profoundly explained how we all have fixed plans until life punches us in the mouth.

Individuals with a low level of emotional intelligence:

  • whine
  • complain
  • fight
  • panic

the moment plans change. But resisting the one constant – change – is a lesson in insanity. Never mind the fact that a 30, 40 or 50 year old reacting to a change in plans like my 4 year old niece reacts does not seem quite as funny, amusing or attractive.

People with a higher level of emotional intelligence may rerun and retell the change in plans to fam, friends and anyone within ear shot, sharing their harrowing tale in great detail, sharing details of “their crazy day” when “Murphy's Law” reigned supreme.

Wise human beings with the highest level of emotional intelligence simply change with a change in plans. My wife and I realized we were lost when the street we found at trail's end did not appear familiar at all. I walked along the road for 10 minutes before realizing we seemed far away from the car.

We doubled back on the trail head to return to its origin. We proceeded to head toward the marsh because I recalled the marsh being close to the parking lot. After finding the marsh I headed directly to the sound of traffic. 15 minutes later we hiked 5 minutes up the road to the car.

Be Flexible

Plans change because life is change. Be flexible. Think of different ways to work your plan. Make a new plan. Keep end goals in mind but be open to new paths.

I hiked a new path today because the old plan – and path – changed. I had no other choice. Complaining would have made no difference. Becoming angry at the forest would have been insane. I simply formulated a new plan to exit the forest in 3 hours versus 90 minutes.

Thank goodness I remained flexible. I read reviews of how some hikers spent 6 hours or longer getting turned around among the 30 plus trails inside of this state park. I guarantee that being lost for 6 hours suggests a lack of flexibility because the park is rather small. Technically, I was lost for roughly 2 hours and 15 minutes because the first 45 minutes were hiked on fairly beaten trail heads.

Change plans to respond gracefully to a change in plans. Plans change but open minded people can reach the same end or goal by changing with plans versus clinging to plans that have outlived their usefulness.

About the Author 

Ryan Biddulph

Ryan Biddulph helps you learn how to blog at Blogging From Paradise.

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