From The Avengers, this quote seemingly sums up the impetuous nature of Iron Man. Brash, cocky, arrogant etc etc. Especially to the measured Captain America.

Captain America: Stark, we need a plan.

Iron Man: I have a plan. Attack!

We can't be like Iron Man, most of us think. We tend to be reactive, and not proactive. Especially if being proactive equates to being brash. But I don't think that's the case at all.

Why do we need to be on the back foot? Why can we not be on the front foot, and be proactive when problems come at us? Mostly because we are unprepared for it. Then, the solution starts to appear - prepare for it.

While we cannot prepare for every contingency or mishap, we can prepare ourselves for the fact that there could be a mishap. Something can go awry. By expecting it, by having a plan for it if and when it does, we can be proactive as well.

The plan might simply be "Breathe. Calm down for 5 minutes. Call someone". But it is still a plan.

All it requires from us is to think ahead, do a bit of (negative) visualisation and contingency planning. And when things go in a not-so-straightforward fashion, we can be prepared for it. By having a better mindset, we will be able to come up with a better plan - even if we are reacting at that time.

Common situations that fluster us - we can start there.

  • Cab didn't arrive on time and we are running late.
  • Alarm didn't go off, or we didn't wake up to the alarm.
  • Laptop crashed suddenly and is not working. And we have an important meeting/presentation.
  • Tripped and fell, and injured ourselves by a complete accident.
  • Made dinner, added way too much salt and it tastes horrible. It is dinner time and everyone's hungry and waiting.

Write down things that got you flustered. And just think it through - how could you have handled it better. Well, there's your plan. And we can start applying this proactively from the next time on.

Iron man picture
Photo by Klim Musalimov / Unsplash

Be more like Iron Man!