TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

Why having a Plan B can sometimes backfire

Research has found that having a backup plan might actually sabotage your efforts toward Plan A. Before you set up your safety net, read these lessons from scientists.

Having a fallback plan is generally considered a good thing. When it comes to applying for colleges, jobs or mortgages, we've probably all heard the advice, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket" or "Make sure you have a Plan B just in case Plan A doesn't work out." And there is some scientific support for this approach. Cognitive psychologists at NYU and the University of Chicago have confirmed that having a backup can alleviate some of the psychological discomfort associated with uncertainty and help us feel better about the future. But by and large, having a backup plan comes with a cost - as shown in these stories from the history of science, matched with the latest research on how our minds work.

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