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4 Examples of Everyone Has A Plan Until They Get Punched in the Face

Everybody has plans until they get hit for the first time is a quote by Mike Tyson, who is widely considered one of the best heavyweight boxers of all time. The comment was in response to the boasts of opponent Tyrell Biggs who Tyson proceeded to defeat by technical knockout in the 7th round on October 16, 1987. The quote by Tyson became a well known analogy and truism that is often misquoted or paraphrased everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. The following are common interpretations of this analogy.

Probabilistic Universe

The universe is inherently complex and probabilistic such that it can't be predicted with certainty. As such, your strategy can be completely logical and based on data but still fail spectacularly.


As plans commonly don't work out as expected it is often a mistake to come up with big plans upfront whereby you plan out the future in detail. Such plans are almost always overthinking as they may become irrelevant with the first unexpected change or outcome.

Last Responsible Moment

Last responsible moment is the practice of leaving strategy, decisions and work until the latest possible moment in order to incorporate change and avoid wasteful and unrealistic overplanning. In the context of a boxing match, this would suggest that tactics that change in response to each round are far more valuable than the strategy going into the match.


The observation that success requires resilience as strategies and plans invariably run into failures and obstacles. As such, those who can adapt and endure in the most difficult of situations have an advantage.


Quote recorded in the The Orangeburg Times on August 19, 1987. This was also released by the Associated Press in an article titled "Tall Man Tyrell Biggs thinks his height will add new dimension to fight." Tyrell Biggs is about 7 inches taller than Tyson.
Overview: Everyone Has A Plan
An analogy and truism that suggests planning is secondary to resilience, adaptation and flexibility.
Attributed to
Mike Tyson
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