Why not planning for the future is the best plan

I have always been of the view that everything should be meticulously organised. A firm believer in the conventional way of doing things, I had a well thought out plan ready for each and every situation that I might encounter in the future. Most of the times, it has also involved having a backup ready in case things don’t go as planned. This kind of thinking is something ingrained in the Indian mindset although the extent of its effect may vary. Risk taking is looked down upon in India and hence while the children are growing up, the seeds of stability and the importance of treading down the tested paths are planted. This translates into us growing into adults who like doing things in a set way or a planned way. However, with changing times, we as a society are embracing the idea spontaneity.

The thing with the future is that it seldom turns out the way we want it to. This unpredictability is what makes plans fail. And when they do, improvisation serves us in the best possible manner. The downside of planning is that we tend to get attached to them and when it doesn’t work out, the attachment makes it difficult for us to act in a proactive manner and take a decision that’ll be in our best interests. In other words, it is difficult to move on.

In his book “Outliers: The Story of Success” Malcolm Gladwell highlights the importance of random events in the success of great men and women. He studies lives and circumstances of extremely successful folks and beautifully illustrates how their family, their culture, their birthplace, or even their birth date played a vital role in making the individuals reach great heights.

Destiny plays an important role in where we end up eventually and no amount of planning can change that. Even the legendary Steve Jobs agrees,

Steve Jobs: Connect The Dots

Everything happens for a good reason.

The quote has a very profound message. What he meant was that find what you love, pursue it with full enthusiasm and have trust in something (in God, your inner voice, karma etc.). This is essential because it offers a reason to a lot of unexplained situations in our lives, over which we usually don’t have much control (probably why the concept of religion and God exists even after human ingenuity has been unable to prove the same). He never planned to start a computer company, never planned to be thrown out of his own company and never planned to become one  of the greatest innovators of the generation. Yet, the confluence of a lot of eclectic factors, events, mishaps and his hard work led him to the path of ultimate glory.

Another instance is that of our beloved missile man, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. He dreamt of becoming a fighter pilot for the Indian Air Force and had his plans well in place. However, he bagged the ninth position out of 25 candidates and was not recruited as only eight slots were available. Think of how shattered he would have been in that instance for his plans had failed. But, today the entire nation thanks his destiny and is indebted to the fact that things didn’t go as planned for him.

Efforts are important. Being rational and proactive is important. Nothing happens on its own. But worrying about the future and chalking out an extensive plan for it is something that we should consciously avoid. Have a vision, a rough idea of sorts and believe in your instincts. Remind yourself of the fact that whatever is happening is in your best interests and you’ll realise it at some point later in your life.

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