How close is your life to the one you planned for yourself when you were a teenager?
I’ll bet there are a heap of differences; I’ll stake my shoes on it.
Sometimes these differences are welcome, like falling in love with someone you never expected or loving your work in an area you could have never predicted.
Other times, you can’t help but wonder what happened.
To those dreams you had. To what you wanted for yourself. To those plans of yours.
Spoiler alert: Life is supposed to take you down unpredictable roads, and it rarely goes to plan.
You can put together the most fool-proof plan the world has ever seen, and you can bet that sooner or later life will sidle on up, throw your plans on the floor, dance an drunken jig on top of them with muddy boots then set light to the whole damn building and disappear off to Asia leaving you to pick up the pieces.
Life is so much more than a plan…
With change as a constant, life makes you plump with out-dated wants, assumptions, beliefs, expectations, rules, thoughts and feelings; things that no longer serve you or fit. Sometimes, you cling to the way you wanted things to be because you don’t want to let go of your dreams. You don’t want to give up.
Only, letting go of a plan has nothing to do with giving up on a dream.
Sometimes you need to add things to your life or make plans to move it forwards, but other times it’s what you take away that allows your life to flourish.
So, the most essential ingredient to any great plan is to have it be flexible enough to be disposable.
No plan should be cast in stone to be followed doggedly or else.
No plan should be about planning.
No plan should consume you with detail so that you forget all about what it was founded on. The vision. The beauty. The difference.
Hearing what’s next in your life is impossible when all you can hear is the echo of the plan that never was, or the din of the plan you’ve just built.
Plans have their time and place, sure they do, but a plan can also make a great comfort blanket, swaddling you with the certainty and autonomy that your brain craves.
That same comfort blanket muffles the stuff that matters – the things you don’t need a plan to tell you.
The only way to get out from under that blanket is to allow yourself to be exposed. To throw it aside. To let the fresh air hit your skin.
To go commando.
You’ll feel exposed without a plan, like there’s an exposed nerve that a plan once protected.
The temptation is to come up with a new plan, stat.
A new plan will get me out of this tough spot, you tell yourself.
I’ll be successful if I just make a great plan
It might feel weird, scary or like you’re more vulnerable than ever, but going about your day with the sense of curiosity, playfulness and ease afforded by plan-less living can be the very best way to discover your next extraordinary change.
“You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.” – Joseph Campbell
So, what happens when the life you have isn’t the life you planned?
You go exploring.
You go exploring without expectation, because sometimes in life your plans are the very thing that keeps you from the life that’s waiting for you
How are your plans coming along?