We need a certain sense of direction to assist in reaching our life goals. In order to accomplish our desires, a plan is necessary. I think of a plan being like the tiller of a sailboat. Without one, the boat is subject to the forces of nature without any direction. The tiller allows to steer through the water to wherever we seek to go. Otherwise we drift aimlessly on the water.
I spent the best part of my life going with the flow in the name of being laid back. Kind of like a Jimmy Buffett lifestyle. As I look back, I feel I have paid dearly as there were many goals such as learning to play the guitar, running a half marathon, surfing, and others that have fallen by the wayside as I failed to really plan how I would do these things. Part of attaining these goals is to have a plan. It is like a blueprint for success. We hear about things like game plans, wedding plans, house plans and so on. In event riding (horses), there is an adage , “Plan your work and work your plan“. Part of eventing is riding cross country over a number of jumps in a certain amount of time. You go out and walk the course and envision how you and your horse will approach each jump so when you are on course there will be no question or indecision which could lead to disaster. Of course, the plan is a fluid thing that could change at any time as the situation dictates. People change, goals change and plans change.
One of early dreams was to be in the theater. Not to be a celebrity but I enjoyed the idea of conveying a story to an audience. One major roadblock appeared Roaring stagefright. In college I was in a theater class where we had to put a one act play on. We were set to practice, and were able to read our scripts. There were six of us. I absolutely froze. My mates tried their hearts out to get me comfortable but to no avail. This crew was awesome. At that point, change of plans and to the back of the house I went. Set building is where I found a home. The moral of this episode is to be flexible and trust that the universe will deliver you to your goal. In football, when a game plan isn’t working, the team adjusts accordingly to iron out the problems.
In order for a plan to be successful, there needs to be sense of flexibility. If you aren’t, I remember a line from the movie The Princess Bride. “Get used to disappointment“. In a way, a plan is like a work of art. They may be broad like a glorious landscape, focused like an intense portrait, or fluid like a modern art piece. Another snippet from my journey. Never in a million years would I have envisioned myself working in a tax office for 22 years. If someone would have told me that, I would have laughed my ass off. But again, plans change.
One interesting thing I have found at this point in my life is that as I plan my day I have become more realistic. Instead of saying I will meditate 30 minutes 4 times a week, I now say I will meditate 5 minutes and make it quality. It is also like working out. I used to say I want to go out and run a mile, but now I have adjusted my fitness plan and say I am going to go for a walk and if I run 100 yards, GREAT!. Its is about being a bit more honest with my goals. This is where I fail a bit. Having a desire to attain certain goals require a plan. I , of the instant gratification generation, would not think reasonably and clearly in establishing a groundwork to make it to the finish line.
I am on a bit of any odyssey at this point of my life. I am still working with horses six days a week for a great operation but find its time to consider change as I enter the third chapter of my life. I look at chapters as about 20 years a pop. I feel like I have worked the physical, mental, and the mundane labors of the world. I am seeking to now feed the intellectual beast. So while I continue to dance with my equine partners, I also realize that I can’t do this forever. And I really don’t want to be mucking stalls when I am 80.
Having a direction, having a goal, and having a plan are like building blocks for a successful future. Sometimes it is about keeping a clear vision on where we wish to head and being willing to be flexible if roadblocks are hit. These stones in the road are only temporary unless we buy into the insanity. Strength is our cornerstone. Try to remember that more is accomplished if there is a plan in place versus going off with no agenda, voice and yes, plan.
I am an old soul who has come to realizing that “planning” is not a bad thing. In fact, I am one who has finally seen the light of what having a plan can do. Big or small, simple or complex, or just what it is , a plan can provide that beacon light through the darkness. And, by having such a light , we can accomplish great things.
It is so much easier to follow the light rather than to fall into the darkness. We must remember that having a plan is like that flashlight that allows us to move through the shadows.
I have had a rough time being a part of the community. My writing has only recently returned. I feel that without a plan , my writing for this awesome magazine would fall by the wayside. I can only hope that my thoughts as put forth in this article hit home and resonate with all all of you out there. May all of us walk in zen.