How far into the future should we plan for? Days, months, years perhaps? John Lennon said, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”
A couple of months at most
Don’t bother making plans that exceed several months at most. This precious advice (which was, incidentally, given to me) is best because: change is the only constant.
Don’t be disappointed
If you plan ahead no more than, say, two months, you won’t be disappointed if things don’t go according to plan.
Although Plan A is wonderful and makes your heart “sing,” don’t forget to tuck away Plan B. Although you wish for, dream about, long for and can’t picture life without Plan A, keep Plan B in your “pocket” just in case.
Although we may have a perfectly clear vision of where we’d like to be five years from now and that this vision may, in fact, be realized, unpredictable, unforeseeable events can and often do happen–especially when we least expect them.
Expect the unexpected
This is why it’s important to limit ourselves when planning. We just don’t know what life will bring. Perhaps it’s best, therefore, to expect the unexpected.
Flexibility in the face of change
How do you deal with a plan change? What will you do if–for reasons that are entirely outside of your purview–Plan A fails? The reason we need to have an alternate plan or plans is to be able to face life changes with flexibility. Becoming entrenched in a favorite outcome and seeing that outcome suddenly become unattainable is painful yet should make us more flexible.
When we make plans, our expectations should be realistic.
Set goals you can actually attain.
When you’re thinking strategically, think like a pragmatist. “Pragma” means “thing” in modern Greek. So, think “thingy” as opposed to “iffy.” Be fully confident that what you deeply think about and long for will be yours; yet don’t pre-concretize exactly how it will happen. Don’t rigidly determine ahead of time how the plan will pan out.
Image source: manheimtownship.org