May 14th, 2010
06:35 PM ET

Your backup plan is your plan

Chris Guillebeau
AC360° Contributor

My favorite part of reading case studies and interviewing entrepreneurs over the past couple of months has been hearing a number of stories with a recurring theme. In dozens of variations, the stories usually sound like this:

"I was down to my last $400 and simply had to make it work…"

"I gave up the option to take a reduced role at my job and just went full-tilt…"

"I didn’t know what I was doing, but I finally overcame everything I was stalling on and just started …"

Refusing the backup plan is a key theme of many successful entrepreneurs and other heroes. A good backup plan creates safety, security and a fall-back option—things you don’t want when you’re trying to change the world.

Will Smith put it like this: "Your Plan B interferes with Plan A." I like that. Why not stick with Plan A?

The Pilot, The Plan

Turning down the safe advice ("be careful, take your time," etc.) makes some people uncomfortable.
When you proceed full-on with no backup, you might encounter questions or supposedly unassailable examples of why backup plans are necessary.

You’ll hear something like "Airplane pilots always have a Plan B," as if it’s an open-and-shut case that you’re wrong to chart a course without considering the contingencies. And when you are presented with such logic, you are expected to say: "Oh, you’re right! It really is better to play it safe. Gosh."

But hold on a minute. Personally, I want my pilot to safely land the damn plane. Assuming that’s Plan A, I’m happy to stick with it. Anything else doesn’t sound like a good plan to me.

We can change our tactics and maybe even our strategy, but let’s not change the goal. The goal is: be awesome. Change the world. Win. In short: Your backup plan is your plan.

Don’t get me wrong; I know that change is a scary thing, and I don’t think prudence is inherently bad. If you need to proceed with caution, proceed away.

But I also know that sometimes the fail-safe plan gives us a safe way out of what we really need to do. It holds us back from greatness. And if there’s anything we don’t want when attempting something truly important, it’s that. Full speed ahead!

So how about you over there… what’s your plan?

Editor’s Note: Chris Guillebeau is a writer and world traveler. He publishes the Art of Nonconformity blog at ChrisGuillebeau.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @chrisguillebeau.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Beyond 360 • Chris Guillebeau
May 14th, 2010
04:37 PM ET

Sneak peek: Inside the first ever AC360 talk show

Tonight, AC360° is going to change up the regular routine. For the first time ever, Anderson will be hosting 360° Friday - a fresh take on news on Friday nights. It's also the first time Anderson has done the program in front of a studio audience.

Not sure what you're in for? Watch Anderson's behind the scenes video of the making of 360° Friday below. Yes, that was actor John Leguizamo giving Anderson some very important words of wisdom. We've also got Mary Matalin, Donna Brazile and Anna Deveare Smith on the show. It's sure to be a blast.

You definitely won't want to miss this! Tune in tonight for 360° Friday at 10pm ET and see what everyone will be talking about.

Filed under: 360° Radar
May 14th, 2010
02:25 PM ET
May 14th, 2010
02:18 PM ET

Arizona under fire? Hardly

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/14/art.arizona.protests.jpg caption="Amidst the furor against Arizona's immigration law, polls show the majority of Americans don’t think there is anything wrong with police asking some questions if it seems like someone is here illegally."]

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

If you have followed the growing furor over the new Arizona immigration law, it would be easy to assume that public anger runs as deeply against this legislation as the Grand Canyon State’s most prominent geologic feature. (I mean, of course, other than John McCain’s shuffleboard court.)

After all, Californians are howling. Professional basketball and baseball players are threatening to quit playing and run home or something like that. Heck, even the makers of Arizona Ice Tea are pointing out that they are located in New York. So I repeat, you may well think public sentiment is dead against the good voters of Arizona.

But you would be wrong. Poll after poll has found most Americans think the Arizonans have a good idea. Not perfect, to be sure. But good. I’m not talking about a bunch of fly-by-night push polls. I’m talking about Gallup, New York Times/CBS, and Pew among others; heavy hitters with solid reputations. And they are finding that the majority of Americans don’t think there is anything wrong with police asking some questions if it seems like someone is here illegally.


Filed under: Arizona • Immigration • Tom Foreman
May 14th, 2010
01:04 PM ET

Study: White and black children biased toward lighter skin

Program Note: See the results of the CNN-commissioned study on children's racial beliefs, attitudes and preferences, and see the children as they take the test on a special "AC360°," tonight at 10pm ET.

(CNN) - A white child looks at a picture of a black child and says she's bad because she's black. A black child says a white child is ugly because he's white. A white child says a black child is dumb because she has dark skin.

This isn't a schoolyard fight that takes a racial turn, not a vestige of the "Jim Crow" South; these are American schoolchildren in 2010.

Nearly 60 years after American schools were desegregated by the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling, and more than a year after the election of the country's first black president, white children have an overwhelming white bias, and black children also have a bias toward white, according to a new study commissioned by CNN.

Watch a preview of the report here. Tune in for a special "AC360°," tonight at 10pm ET.

More links:

Read the full doll study results

Read the original 1947 doll test results

Filed under: 360° Radar • Race in America
May 14th, 2010
12:33 PM ET

Woman fakes kidnapping to hide secret


[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/14/art.nancysalas.cadmv.jpg caption="Former UCLA student Nancy Salas couldn't bear lying anymore to family about dropping out."]

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

A young California woman who said she was abducted at knifepoint made up the story because she didn’t want her parents to know she was not a student at UCLA, authorities told CNN.

“It’s kind of a tragedy,” Sgt. Tom Lorenz of the Glendale Police Department said in a telephone interview. “Here she was the oldest daughter going to UCLA and she was going to make it and be successful and when she was no longer enrolled she couldn’t bear to tell anyone.”

The family of Nancy Salas, 22, reported her missing on Wednesday, police said. According to investigators, her parents said Salas vanished during her morning job.

A massive search was conducted for Salas with law enforcement using bloodhounds and helicopters in the attempt to find her, Sgt. Lorenz said.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
May 14th, 2010
12:07 PM ET
May 14th, 2010
11:07 AM ET

McGraw: Girls' dancing to Beyonce 'inappropriate'

Last night on AC360°, Anderson spoke with Dr. Phil McGraw about a popular video on the web where 7-year-old girls dance to Beyonce's hit song "Single Ladies." Watch the video here. Sound off in the comments below.

Filed under: 360° Radar
May 14th, 2010
10:16 AM ET

Must-see AC360° video: Oil spill worse than expected

Last night on AC360°, Anderson spoke with Purdue University professor Steve Wereley, who believes the oil spill leak is worse than expected. According to his calculations, the leak could be spilling more like 70,000 barrels per day, not the 5,000 barrels per day that had been estimated before. Watch the video here. Sound off in the comments below.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Gulf Oil Spill • Oil
May 14th, 2010
09:54 AM ET

Dear Mr. President #480 "Late night company"

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/14/art.obama.family.jpg caption="Sometimes, Mr. President, the work can wait. Enjoy your family and enjoy your life while you can."]

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: There is a lot of news commanding attention right now, but frankly I’m feeling a bit played out. So here is my daily letter to the White House, and don’t expect much more out of me this week.

Dear Mr. President,

The kids are closing in on the end of the school year, and I think I am as excited about it as they are. The last day of classes is still a few weeks off to be fair, but just the scent of summer is enough to raise my spirits.

I think it can be hard for folks without children to comprehend just how much you feel the workload of your kids, and I guess I don’t really know how it is in your house, but at Chez Foreman let me tell you…when the girls come in the door with a stack of books and assignments that will keep them burning into the night, we’re all aware of it.

Still, I try to find little corners of sanity in the midst of it all, and I hope you do too. For example, last night, one of my daughters came down to the family room quite late after I had finally made it home from the office.


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