Don't Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch

It is all too easy to assume that everything in life is going to work out perfectly. Some people are so, shall we say, "structured" that they plan their entire lives for years assuming that things will happen exactly as they hope. For example, some MIT students begin planning at the beginning of their freshman year what classes they will be taking through graduate school and then where they will end up working. The problem is, once they fail one class or have a bad experience that leads them to doubt their major, all of these plans fall apart.

This is where the adage "Don't Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch." Literally, it refers to the fact that in any group of chicken eggs, some are not likely to be born. A foolish farmer would think "There are ten eggs there, so I can expect to have ten chickens running around." According to the adage, though, a more realistic farmer would wait until they were actually hatched and adjust his farming plans based on how many were born. If any fail to hatch, the foolish farmer is caught off guard. The realistic farmer already expects to adjust, so he is much better off.

In general, we should plan the future based on what we expect to happen. It is important, however, to always be flexible. The MIT student mentioned above is wise to plan the classes they want to take. They would be foolish if they did not have "contingency" plans. Unfortunately things do not always work out as we want, so we must be prepared for anything.

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Links of Interest: Manitoba Egg Producers