On Evil Plans: When Scheming Becomes Planning

June 8, 2011 · 4 comments

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my Next Big Adventure.

Pondering. Plotting. Scheming. Not quite to the point where I’m ready to tell the world what that Big Adventure might be… but yes, scheming.

And today something happened that turned my scheming into planning.

It started with my eyes hurting at work, sore from looking at a computer screen all day. But it was only 4 p.m., not yet time to call it a day. So I looked through the pile of books that had arrived at my office during the last few months. Lots of job-search and career-related books, only a few that looked mildly interesting and unique. I picked up one with a bright yellow cover, Hugh MacLeod‘s Evil Plans: Having Fun on the Road to Domination.

And then I couldn’t put it down. I read it until 5 p.m. I left the office and read it on the bus. I forced myself to stow the book in my bag while checking out a wedding venue with my soon-to-be-married sister, then while walking the dog. I picked up where I left off, and kept reading until I finished the book, a mere six hours after first discovering it in that not-so-promising pile.

Admittedly, it’s a quick read. Half the pages are cartoons, after all. But man, this is one of those ah-ha books. MacLeod says we all need an Evil Plan, “that crazy, out-there idea that allows [you] to actually start doing something [you] love, doing something that matters.”

Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. You know what you want your Next Big Adventure to be, even if you’re still at the dreaming stage. Even if you haven’t told anyone yet about your Leap. If you didn’t have something in mind, you probably would’ve stopped reading by now.

So with your Evil Plan in mind, consider these ideas from MacLeod:

  • Once you get some traction, people will either love your plan or hate it. They’ll love it because you inspire them, or hate it because you remind them of their own inadequacies, specifically what they don’t have the guts to do. (Lexi here: Expecting negative feedback makes it easier to swallow when it comes your way.)
  • “You can only live life to the fullest in the moment. The past and the present are distractions.”
  • If your Evil Plan includes offering a product or experience to others, make sure it helps the user find meaning in his own life. Relevance is key to success.
  • Life is about choices. Choose to go out on a limb, or do nothing, which effectively means you’re choosing to stay.
  • Do not wait until everything is perfectly in place before launching your Evil Plan. “A lot of people massively postpone their Evil Plan for the simple reason that they don’t have an answer for every possible contingency.” Know what? You never will. So get started, and have confidence in your ability to roll with the successes and challenges along the way.

I so related to these thoughts — see third point above about relevance driving success — that I hopped onto Amazon immediately after turning the last page and bought MacLeod’s first book, Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity. I hope that book calls for a one-night marathon read, too.

Evil planners and soon-to-be leapers: If I offer a newsletter that gives you one step to take each week to prepare for your Leap, that helps hold you accountable for making your Evil Plan happen, would you subscribe?

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sunehra June 8, 2011 at 11:51 pm

I’d definitely subscribe! This post couldn’t have come at a better time. I just left my 9-5 Jon to pursue my passion. I’ll have to check this book out =)

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Andi of My Beautiful Adventures June 9, 2011 at 9:33 am

Sounds like a must read!

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Lee June 9, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Yes, would definitely be interested in reading a kick in the butt once per week newsletter that pushes me towards my goals of being a freelance writer who actually makes money writing

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Ami June 15, 2011 at 7:38 am

I’m going to have to put this (and his first book) on my reading list. Thanks for sharing! And I’d definitely subscribe to that newsletter! I could use all the encouragement and advice I can get as I take my Big Leap. :)
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