The Benefit of Not Planning Your Life

Life Planning

There are some who think lifestyle design, or life planning, is overrated.

They’d rather fly by the seat of their pants, and just let life happen, than think of their end goals in life and make a plan to achieve them.

I know I’ve felt that way at times, have you? Why?

Well, for me, it is because planning takes time. It involves thought. It requires action. And it demands accountability.

Sr. John Harvey-Jones says there is great benefit in not engaging in life planning:

“Planning is an unnatural process – it’s much more fun to get on with it. The real benefit of not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise and is not preceded by months of worry.”

I think the point he is making is that when we fail to plan, we’re really planning to fail, even though we don’t recognize it at the time.  And it is true for all areas of our lives:  our finances, career, marriage, etc.

One interesting thing I’ve noticed is that, even though our act of “not planning” is “not preceded by months of worry,” it is often followed by years of regret.  Why?

Because, in the words of the great Yogi Berra:

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up somewhere else.”

And the “someplace else” is quite often a place where we don’t want to be.  When we’re there, we find ourselves asking, “How in the world did I get here?”

At that point, it’s pretty easy, though certainly disappointing, to look back at all the choices and actions we made that led us to that point.

In that moment of regret, we realize it really would have been better, and easier, to have taken the time to make a plan in advance of how we wanted to live our life.

So, why not avoid the regret, pain, and disappointment in your life?  If you don’t want to end up “somewhere else,” make the time to think about what you want your life to be like.

A great place to start is to write down everything you’ve ever wanted to be, do, have and achieve in your Master Dream List.

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