The mathematician James Yorke once said, “The most successful people are those who are good at Plan B.” How effective are you at shifting gears when things do not go as expected?
If you want to find a group that knows how to succeed at Plan B, look no further than those who help impoverished people in sub-Saharan Africa. One such individual is Joshua Silver, an Oxford University physics professor who developed self-adjusting glasses.
One barrier to employment opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa is good vision. There is only one optometrist for every one million people. As reported in the recent issue of Mental Floss magazine, Joshua Silver has shifted to Plan B to help overcome this challenge.
Silver has invented glasses that allow the wearer to inject a clear silicone gel between two flexible plastic lenses, which creates inexpensive curved lenses matching most prescriptions. The temples of the glasses come with a syringe of silicon on the side connected to the lenses, and the wearer snaps off the syringe after adjusting the glasses to fit his or her vision. No optometrist is needed. And the lenses are good for three years.
Silver has created these self-adjusting glasses for a price of just $25, and he hopes to make it even cheaper with future advances. His goal is to distribute over one billion frames by the year 2020. That’s quite a Plan B.
The next time you run up against a wall, do not become too discouraged. That challenge may be the best thing that could have happened to you. You may find out that your Plan B leads to many unexpected positive results.