The Philosopher-in-Residence Blog Series from Make Me A Plan's Principal Planner, Anna Pascoe

When this Philosopher-in-Residence was a youthful undergraduate, pondering Politics and German at the University of Southampton, I used to describe myself as a Hobbesian Kantian.

A beverage-break-sized blog is probably not suffice to give a full precis of Hobbes or Kant, let alone both. If one were to summarise their worldviews, though, Hobbes was firmly in the expect the worst, glass half empty camp, with Kant taking up position in the hope for the best, glass half full lobby.

So when I indulged my fledgling pseud by calling my own worldview Hobbesian-Kantian (which doesn’t actually exist outside my own musings, by the way), what I meant was either:

a)    Hey someone in professorsville, why don’tcha recognise my incredible hitherto genius in coining a new worldview descriptor

b)    I basically always expect the worst to happen but maintain a hope that it might not

Although I exaggerate this a tad for the sake of this blog, actually, the Hobbesian-Kantian worldview (HKW) has defined the years inbetween and how I’ve approached personal and professional projects. I rarely do that consciously as a process stage, so this led me to conclude recently that perhaps this HKW is one of my guiding values, scripted in my DNA and not something that could be extracted or separated out from how I do me.

In personal challenges, for example competing in ultramarathons, as well as obviously creating a training plan (do head over to https://www.makemeaplan.com/plans-for-individuals/fitness-plans/ if you’d like one too), I used to invest hours in thinking of absolutely anything that could go wrong, with solutions or Plan B ready-armed for all of those scenarios. I also used to specifically devote time to visualising things that were next level best possible outcome, like winning outright, setting a course record, beating the rest of the field by a massive margin.

There was never a time when all of this happened, but there was usually a time when some of this happened in each event. So this validated my HKW.

Professionally, having had a LOT of shift work jobs and roles where working at max efficiency was the norm over the years, my HKW in that arena got shaped by being required to know a lot of rules/policies/legislations or be the troubleshooter who mitigated against bad stuff happening or fixed problems that did arise. I'm really guided by improvement and achievement, so the Kantian end of the HKW was always in evidence too, motivated by my desire to deliver the best possible day’s work, project outcome, role fulfilment.

I’ve questioned the K a fair amount over these pandemic years, where it’s so hard to plan and the only knowns are that prices will rise and uncertainty will persist. When in doubt, go back to what you know, is one of my mottos – so I’m going to try and keep myself in touch with my Kantian side while Hobbes tries to do his thing.

Where are you on the HKW spectrum, members of Plankind?


Next fortnight, I’ll be musing On Stuff (not a vaguebooking title to make you wonder what on earth will be the content, but in fact actual, tangible stuff, from prized possessions to metaphysics and matter).

Please get in touch with any particular aspects of this topic you’d like me to write about.


In the meantime,


Happy Planning


PS If you want some other free tips for your business life, check out the Working Well blog – out fortnightly on Wednesdays, courtesy of Make Me A Plan’s Productivity Expert, Penny Le Kelly. Browse the latest edition here:


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