Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.
Quote originally by: Allen Saunders but popularized by John Lennon.
Life is always happening. It is happening in the present and will also be happening in a future present. Finding a way to stay present while still being prepared when that future present arrives can be difficult. But finding that balanced approach to planning is also important.
Why are Plans for the Future Needed?
I spent much of my life not expecting to live very long and I acted as such. I squandered resources, burned bridges, and developed a complete lack of healthy imagination. What I found through the process of irresponsibility is how important planning for the future is.
The amount of opportunity I missed out on is staggering as I continue to understand the ramifications of not being present for life all those years. Today even though I am a responsible and productive human being, there are still opportunities for success that I’m simply not present for. Or never dreamt up because I wasn’t aware of their possibility. Nothing like the way things used to be, but there is always room for improvement.
Having plans in place for our future lives is critically important. We may continue living for quite a long time. And to maintain a healthy and success filled life for as long as we are around we will need to make plans for the changes life brings. Healthy and effective planning for our futures can help us see difficulties on our paths. It can also allow us to see where we should place our efforts to build the type of lives we desire to experience.
When future moments for success arrive we will want to be ready for them, or we will miss out. Maybe our lack of imagination and foresight will have us blind to what we are missing. Or maybe it will be clearly screaming in our faces, waiting to beat us down with regret for many years. Who wants to be blind to what is coming or loaded with regret over missing out?
It is a shame to waste the ambitious energy us human beings have at our cores. We need healthy plans to lead a healthy life. Being in the moment with no plans may feel good from time to time, but to me is not enough.
Staying Focused Solely on the Moment is Not the Best of Plans.
Living life in the moment is of course critically important to maintaining our own sanity and be successful. But a life lived solely in the moment without regard for the future will leave us ill-prepared to capitalize on future opportunities when they arrive.
The inner driving force of a human being is tremendous. And I don’t believe that driving force is meant to be solely for the present. If it was then why in the hell do we have the ability to imagine what we cannot already touch or see? Our brains developed the ability to do this for a productive reason. Whether it developed it for security purposes to bypass danger or whatever. It can just as easily be used to plan our ways into success beyond keeping our interests safe.
Of course, we need to stay grounded when making plans for the future. We need to be mindful of the inner workings of the present moment. Awake to the opportunities that are around us. When awake to the opportunities around us we are in a better place to see the opportunities that are off on the horizon.
Finding a Balanced Approach to Making Plans.
Having our future selves set up for success when the moment arrives is an absolute blessing. It helps me with being grateful for the baton being handed over smoothly from a past me that doesn’t exist anymore.
The type of plans I find best to make are those that are grounded in reality. But how do we go about doing this?
1. Staying Rooted in the Present Moment While Planning for the Future.
I find the opposite of rooted in the present moment is being lost in our minds. Lost in the process of thinking and imagining. Being lost in this process is a complete waste of energy. Though I suppose maybe we might obsess our ways into something productive. But there is much more evidence in my life that it will take me where I don’t desire to go. And fill me with fear and a body full of unproductive stress.
The way I stay rooted in my planning is to bounce ideas off of the healthy people I trust most. I also make sure that I meditate. Giving my brain the freedom to process the information I need to, without my interruption. After I do some talking and meditating, then I will do some planning.
But don’t get me wrong, I am going to obsess and find myself floating away from the moment. This is to be expected. The trick is to not judge ourselves too harshly, then get ourselves back into the moment ASAP.
2. Set Intentions for Future Success.
To attract the types of life we desire, we also need to have a little bit of a grasp on what we desire. Then we need to set the intentions that might open our minds to their possibilities. It is only at this point that we can set our plans and our lives to go in that direction.
Our healthy ambitions are important for having lives that we enjoy. All of the energy brewing up in a human being needs direction. Set the intention, do a little planning and allow that energy to create the path.
3. Make Flexible Plans.
Being flexible is one of the most important principles to healthy life experimentation. Just because we make plans that doesn’t mean that these plans are going to work. When they don’t work we might need to go with the flow and make small revisions to the plan as we feel our way through.
Having plans that are too rigid may end up causing unnecessary pain and frustration for ourselves and those around us. I agree that once in awhile opportunities might require us to bulldoze our way into them. But for the most part there are many ways to achieve a goal and be flexible. In the moment re-planning will work out even better than forcing results.
4. Trusting our Ability to Evolve.
We need to be able to practice self-trust. As well, put some trust in the world around us. Us human beings are resourceful creatures. We may desire something and not see the way to plan for it. That certainly doesn’t mean that it is not ours to desire. It also doesn’t mean that we won’t get it.
Our desires take us places, whether we know they do or not. They work in the background of our consciousness. I don’t know how many times in my recovery I have been struck with gratitude when I realized that unbeknownst to me, my life was guided exactly where It needed to be. Though while on the path to get there, I had no clue that is where I was going.
Life is much easier when I remind myself of my uncanny ability to adapt to my surroundings.
5. Keeping our Minds from projecting Emotion Onto the Future.
When planning for the future it can be easy to slip into many emotions. When anticipating what we will need to face we can feel, fear, humiliation, anger, gratitude, happiness or any other emotion. These emotions are important in the planning process. They help prepare us for what is to come.
Though it is also important to remember that we need to be careful with these emotions. Remembering that we cannot imagine exactly what will be on the path. We can shut ourselves down to a path just because we perceive things to be too difficult. All the while as we keep our minds in the present, our ability to evolve to meet the needs of the moment made life much easier than we could have ever imagined.
There is a balance to be found between staying in the moment and planning for the future. The more we find that sweet spot, I believe the more balanced and healthy we become.
The quote to begin the article can be interpreted in a couple different ways. First, it might be telling us to quit planning so much because life is passing us by. It also might be saying that while we are planning we end up with meaningful lives as life goes on and we have been meeting our goals.
My take is both. Balanced is best.
Well, that is all we have for today, and thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth.
We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit.
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