To plan or not to plan? Is that the question?

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I’ve heard it said, “Plan as if you will live forever, and live today as if you will die tomorrow.” Of course, if we live today as if there is no tomorrow we will not do a very good job of taking care of forever.

That is but one of the tensions between living an intentional  life and one that is more spontaneous and lived in the moment.

Here is another:

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans,” John Lennon wrote in his song, “Beautiful Boy.”

True. Life has a way of confounding our best-laid plans.

It’s also true that life happens to us when we make no plans. But it may not be the life we want.

Here’s how I reconcile those seemingly competing views that play themselves out in both our personal and professional lives:

Make plans, but hold them loosely. Our lives are generally better when we have goals and make plans, although life has a way of surprising us.

Our lives are more in tune with our values and goals when we make plans, as long as we remember that we don’t always get everything we want.

How do you reconcile the tension between the value of planning and the uncertainties of life?

 

5 Responses to “To plan or not to plan? Is that the question?”


  1. 1 Karen Miller September 18, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    I am currently faced with such dilemmas. We have meticulously planned for Instructional Coaching Role and yet, the daily events cause for spontaneous response. I hope to keep the vision I hold for Collaborative Inquiry close and will choose carefully when the best time to intentionally move forward. Slow and steady wins the race…I think.

  2. 3 cm9384 September 18, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    This is a wonderful concept, however not realistic in today’s world…

  3. 4 Kent Peterson November 19, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Planning is a PARADOX. You have reinforced a key idea–that one needs to plan, but the plan must not be so rigid that it sends you over the edge when an edge appears. Terry Deal and I talked about planning as a Paradox: Make plans—Be ready to immediately replan when necessary.

    • 5 Dennis Sparks November 19, 2013 at 11:23 am

      Planning is a paradox of sorts… it provides an illusion of control when in reality some degree of influence is the best we can hope for. Thanks for extending and deepening this conversation, Kent.


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