MAKE A LIMITED AND ORDERLY RETREAT
It is rare that a mistake is so large and so wrong that all is lost. You can usually assume a fall back position.
In any endeavor, you should have fallback positions prepared in advance for the moment of adversity. This guarantees that if you experience a setback, you limit the amount of damage and the amount of ground lost. A limited and orderly retreat is preferable to total unconditional surrender, and the amount of ground lost and assets compromised may be smaller than feared.
When we sailed up the Red Sea, we always had a fallback position and an alternate destination we could head for. More than once, we had to make a limited and orderly retreat because it was impossible to continue.
One evening, we left a secure anchorage in southern Egypt, and motored north in flat calm seas without a breath of wind. We thought we had it made in the shade; our next destination was only forty miles north, and we would get there just after daylight the next day. It was a great plan except for one thing; at one o’clock in the morning, the wind suddenly increased to forty knots directly on the nose, and within one hour all forward progress stopped.
When the wind blows that strongly, it’s not long before the seas build up and start breaking over the yacht. The boat motion becomes dangerously chaotic, and it becomes progressively more difficult to keep the boat safely under control. That’s exactly what happened to us; we were in trouble in the middle of the night, and we had to make a limited and orderly retreat back to where we started eight hours previously.
Although it wasn’t fun getting beaten up by strong winds and heavy seas in the middle of the night, at least it wasn’t an overwhelming problem, because we had a fallback position to which we could make a limited and orderly retreat. We were mentally and physically exhausted when we put our anchor down in the morning, but at least we had not lost ground from where we started.
That’s what you try to do when setbacks happen.
Give up the least amount of ground possible, and quickly regroup at a fallback position.
Just because you can’t move forward, and just because you temporarily have to go into reverse, doesn’t mean you have to go back to square zero.
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