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Is it good to make plans?

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  • Is it good to make plans?

    Another post made me open a new thread http://www.davidco.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6860. TesTeq says:
    Overplanning your life and the lack of flexibility can be dangerous. If you plan to get married when you are 25 years old you will miss a perfect oportunity at 23 an you will marry the wrong person at 25.
    And I fully agree with him. I read in a book that psychologists say that it's very dengerous if you plan your future in details (i.e. I want a black yaht in a year) bacause if you get even what you planned but in different color (yellow yaht) you aren't happy in that moment. Any comments on that?

  • #2
    Hi Eugene. I complete agree. I think it'd be useful to study the current work on happiness (e.g., "Stumbling on Happiness" by Daniel Gilbert) and consider the implications for planning.

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    • #3
      I think an old military quote is applicable here: "Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential" [Churchill].

      The plan is what sets you off in the right direction--without it, you're just letting stuff happen to you. Along the way, though, you have to be flexible and adjust to reality.
      Last edited by jknecht; 04-01-2007, 07:45 PM. Reason: corrected the quote

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Borisoff View Post
        ...psychologists say that it's very dengerous if you plan your future in details (i.e. I want a black yaht in a year) bacause if you get even what you planned but in different color (yellow yaht) you aren't happy in that moment. Any comments on that?

        Solution: just change your plans whenever appropriate. I can’t agree with discarding details--sometimes the most motivating elements of a plan--just because you can't foresee everything in advance.

        At the same time, I do find it helpful to not obsess over the details of a plan when doing this could hold back the plan for no good reason. I think there is something important about recognizing in each case what is the appropriate degree of precision: what is the level of detail that is necessary for clarity, and what level of detail that is unimportant or impossible, knowing what I know right now.

        So, for a home remodeling project, it may be important to plan to “go to Home Depot and get appropriate tools as needed.” But it may be overkill to try to plan out exactly what tools to get before you are well into the project and have seen what issues have come up.

        But, on top of that, if there are details that are unnecessary but motivating to think about, I see no reason why not to include those. Just be prepared to change them if you discover that something else would better serve your larger goal.

        I try to review each plan at some interval, asking whether this plan is still appropriate, or if it needs to be changed given new understanding that I have.

        For me, the ultimate goal in the distance that I am working towards is being happy. As I change, as I understand myself better, and as my circumstances change, I find it often important to adjust my goals to fit my new understanding/situation with respect to this ultimate goal.
        Last edited by Chad; 03-31-2007, 09:49 AM.

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        • #5
          Plans are Ok but visualization?

          Happiness is an internal state. It doesn't depend on external stuff (cars, homes, wearing, food). Imagine you are a child and play with your friends. You didn't care about any plans or future. You were there, in the moment, busy 100% with what you had in front of you and happy with what you had. And you didn't care about time untill some external situation did it for you (your parents called you home, sun set and everyone went home or you just got bored and went home yourself).

          I know that plans are good. Maybe I should re-phrase my initial question. Plans are good because you plan what YOU can do not others. You plan an ACTION. But is it good to visualize the final wild success? As I mentioned above you could visualize a yellow yaht and be dissapointed or not happy if you suddenly work to green. And changing plans doesn't work here because not everything depends on us. We do what we can do and plan what we can do. And the result is unpredictable anyway (in general or in details).

          Regards,
          Eugene.

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          • #6
            How do you define wild success? If you define it so precisely that only a yellow yacht is acceptable, then it seems to me the problem might be with your definition, not with visualization per se.

            On the other hand, part of your definition of success might be leisure time spent near or on the water. That might be achieved by buying a yellow yacht, but it also might be achieved by opening a shop for surfers. A less precise definition allows you to consider both possibilities.

            Katherine

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            • #7
              Originally posted by kewms View Post
              On the other hand, part of your definition of success might be leisure time spent near or on the water. That might be achieved by buying a yellow yacht, but it also might be achieved by opening a shop for surfers. A less precise definition allows you to consider both possibilities.
              Kewms, in the example you gave you used a precise defenition but without features and aspects. Anyway with that definition (time spent near or on the water) you are not allowed to have leisure time and be happy in any place where there's no water

              I think that visualization is a very good instrument that allows you to get anything you want. I used it and got everything I wanted. But it kills your ability to be happy in the moment because it's that picture that moves you from this state to your visualized state. It also kills your ability to express emotions. You start to think that you will be happy when you get into your visualized state but you're not happy on the way. When you get there, into your wild success - you already can't feel happiness nad joy...

              Just think about that.

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              • #8
                It's the journey, not the destination.

                In the long run, after all, we are all dead.

                Katherine

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Borisoff View Post
                  I think that visualization is a very good instrument that allows you to get anything you want. I used it and got everything I wanted. But it kills your ability to be happy in the moment because it's that picture that moves you from this state to your visualized state. It also kills your ability to express emotions. You start to think that you will be happy when you get into your visualized state but you're not happy on the way. When you get there, into your wild success - you already can't feel happiness nad joy...
                  So visualisation allows you to get anything you want, but you don't enjoy the process, and when you get it, you find you don't really want it? Sounds enticing.

                  As Katherine said, in the long run, we're all dead (and I can't remember whose quote that was...any hints, Katherine?).

                  Apropos of this, there's a story that stuck in my mind from many years ago. In an Arab city, a man was condemned to death, and when he stood before the ruler of the city, he said "My lord, I know you have a favourite horse. If you give me a year, I will teach your horse to sing. If it does, let me go free. If not, then execute me." The ruler thought about it, and agreed.

                  The man's friend heard the news, and hurried to the city. He found the man in the stable yard, singing to the horse, which stood unimpressed. The man's friend cried out "What are you doing? It's a horse, it can't sing!"

                  The man replied "A lot of things might happen in a year. I might die. The lord might die. The horse might die. There might be a revolution. The horse might sing. But whatever happens, I have a year that I didn't have before."

                  That story has kept me going through some very rough times, because of the layers of meaning there. I tend to think of it as "Enjoy the cabbage, because life might not give you strawberries". And who knows, the horse might sing.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by unstuffed View Post
                    As Katherine said, in the long run, we're all dead (and I can't remember whose quote that was...any hints, Katherine?).
                    John Maynard Keynes. http://www.bartleby.com/66/8/32508.html

                    I've taken him out of context, since his point was actually that long term trends are unreliable guides to present action.

                    Katherine

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by unstuffed View Post
                      So visualisation allows you to get anything you want, but you don't enjoy the process, and when you get it, you find you don't really want it? Sounds enticing.

                      That story has kept me going through some very rough times, because of the layers of meaning there. I tend to think of it as "Enjoy the cabbage, because life might not give you strawberries". And who knows, the horse might sing.
                      Unstuffed, exactly what you said! Visualization allowed me to get everything but I've lost a sence of today (cabbage) because was leaving in future (strawberries). That's why I say be careful with visualization: you will get what you want but you will not notice yourself how you loose your emotions and "be present" feeling.

                      Regards,
                      Eugene.

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