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What is Planning?

Conventionally, planning is the process of determining what needs to be done in order to get from where you are, to where you want to be. It is done by simply listing out the activities that needs to be carried out in sequential order, to achieve a specific goal or objective.

Why the need to plan?

The need to plan arises when there is a goal but you don’t know how you’re going to get there. It applies to goals such as wanting to start a business, wanting to start a money making website, wanting to live a healthier life, wanting to have more time, wanting to be more productive, etc.

Conversely, there is no need to plan if it’s a ‘been there, done that’ kind of situation; where the actions required to get there is known, the solution to the problems that may arise is known, and it is as simple as recalling what needs to be done and what’s the best way to do it.

What’s wrong with conventional planning?

The idea behind conventional planning has its flaws. The main assumption is that the completion of each planned activity brings us closer to the achievement of our goals. In reality however, some activities do not bring us any closer to the desired end-result (some, in fact, bring us further from it) – a rather disconcerting setback.

Secondly, the process of planning is largely based on our ability to imagine. We plan according to what we can imagine by creating a number of ‘What if’ scenarios: What if this happens, what if that happens, and so on. Again in reality, a lot of things (that weren’t planned for) can still happen – another setback.

Because of this, some were led to believe that "Nothing ever goes according to plan, so why bother? Just go with the flow."

People then started undermining planning because they believe that execution supersedes planning. They prefer to take action than to plan their actions; they put all emphasis on doing and put less emphasis on thinking.

Know what the implications of jumping into execution without planning are. I mean, sure, you can walk blindfolded and still reach somewhere, but will it be where you want to be?

How are we supposed to plan then?

Good question. In order for planning to be effective, a plan in itself must be flexible and dynamic. Plans are supposed to change. If it does not change, then there’s something wrong. "Insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results." -- Albert Einstein.

Let me attempt to illustrate this in the simplest of ways:

In the plan above, Point C is the goal. Armed with the knowledge that only Point B leads to Point C, our plan is to first get from Point A to Point B, then move on to Point C from there. But in reality, it may not be as simple:

In the journey to Point B, something gets in our way. This obstacle wasn't seen in the original plan; why did we miss it?? Well, because we were not in a position to notice it at the time. Nevertheless, a solution is required:

By simply maneuvering around the obstacle (just making a point), we arrive at Point B and can then proceed to Point C.

But then, out of nowhere a set of thick gray fog appeared. If we continue, everything’s a blur and we won’t know if it’ll get to Point C eventually because we can’t see where we’re headed. But it is also at this point that we are made aware of a new path towards our goal:

We discovered Point D, serendipitously. So we detour to Point D, and then double-back down to Point C. Voila! We’ve finally achieved our goal.

Now, the whole point in drawing the 5 brainless diagrams above was to show you than a plan constantly changes and there’s nothing wrong with that. Notice the difference between the first plan and the final plan? This is what I mean when I say plans need to be dynamic.

In some instances, the original and the final plan can differ even more complexly, but that’s not unusual. We draw a plan because we don’t know what to do, so we can’t expect what we thought were the best actions (in the pre-execution stages) to turn out to be absolutely the right thing to be done in the end.

A plan is changed when our perspective of the problem changes; when our consciousness and knowledge about the problem increases; as well as when our goal is defined in greater detail than before. Changing plans is part of the process toward the achievement of our goals. If the plan isn’t working, we have to change it, right?

And the problem with this is: Many people feel frustrated having to let circumstances dictate the changes of the plan but when in fact they can choose to see consciously, that they are the one that has the power to change the plan.

Instead of thinking, "Ah fuck! This shit doesn’t work." They can choose to think, in a similarly vulgar way, "Now that this shit doesn’t work, what fuck should I do next?"

That’s dynamic planning in progress. Everything changes, so keep changing plans until your goal is achieved.

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