It all starts with ‘I have this awesome plan’
When I was in 3rd grade, I had a girlfriend, we were going to eat a lot of food so we could grow fast and get married. We would get a bunch of fat kids, two cats (MR and Mrs Wiggles), a dog(Twobbles) and we would live in a thatched tree house. Since we would be grown-ups, we’d be free to eat ice cream every day.
Then on one fateful day, my girlfriend’s family moved out and I never saw her again. All our carefully crafted out plans went down the drain! But that’s just life isn’t it? This is what we always tell others but do we believe it?
Here is an example, we are all self-proclaimed business experts telling others that it’s okay to fail but in reality, we’re terrified of failing. It’s always okay when it’s not you. This applies to plans too. We’ll be telling others how it’s sometimes okay to go with the flow but as soon as our predicted plan doesn’t pull through, we freak out.
As humans, we’re creatures of intelligence and our ability to analyse, predict bad things and evade them before they happen is one of the reasons we’re here today as a species. But as the wise men say, blessings can also be curses and our ability to plan is one big curse. We like to be in control over everything. How is the stock market going to be tomorrow? What about the weather? Which Ivy League schools will my kids attend?
I once witnessed people planning for a wedding and frankly, I would never wish that kind of stress on anyone. Calculating almost to the point where you estimate how may steps I’ll take during the day. Well, we sort of have science to blame. Science is about being exact and having the facts down to the correct decimal point. But life is not always a science. Sometimes life is an art, and art is beautiful and chaotic.
You can’t plan magic/beauty
When you’re making a masterpiece, you don’t sit and plan all the angles, shades and terrains you will use. You just relax and let the chaos in you do the work and in the end, the result is beauty beyond imagination. Sometimes we need to let go like this. We spend too much time and energy estimating and then when it doesn’t turn out, we spend even more time beating ourselves and feeling sorry.
Back when I was working on my first project as a team leader, I was very keen on planning and of course, I was right to some extent. However, we spent a lot of time planning and in the end, we didn’t do most of that stuff. The project was super successful, yes but most of the stuff we had planned was not included. Our problems mutated along the way so we had to change. Our ability to adapt proved to be more useful than our planning skills.
I am not asking you to dive into things blindfolded with no plan. Am just asking you to question your planning. What do you want to achieve with your planning? You will always need some sort of a forward point of reference as my ancestors say ‘He who has no designated destination will never arrive’ but you need to revel in the chaos of life once in a while.
Just take a quick evaluation of your life. What are your best moments? How much of those best moments did you plan? My guess, not much. Most of the stuff that makes your best memory was as a result of chaos. You simply cannot plan beauty.
Try not to prepare for everything and save yourself some time and energy.
Also published on Medium.