Planning for the Future

To people like me that hate planning, the title of this blog may as well read, "Pulling Teeth with a Rusty, Bacteria-infested Pliers."

Yep, I hate planning.

Let me be more specific.

I hate planning for the unpredictable. I can plan the next two hours of my life without much stress. I can plan a weekend without getting frustrated. But if you ask me to plan for next year or two years or five years, I get irritated.

Nobody has a crystal ball that works.

And if God wanted you to know the future, He would have told you. But he doesn't, so He didn't.

The future is a very foggy place for us. We live in the clearly visible present, and look forward to what we predict.

The problem is predictions are influenced by bias, by opinion, and by personal interest. If you're having a rough day, your predictions for the future might be unduly grim.

If, however, someone just bought you a Starbucks drink and your boss let you leave work early (with pay), then you might see the future as nothing but roses and blue skies.

How do I balance that? 

I'm generally an optimist, but I can also be painfully practical. I call this being a "realist." My optimism doesn't blind me from the truth.

But what if I just don't know?

How can you plan for that?

If I asked you a math question and didn't give you enough numbers, would that frustrate you?

8  x  ____ = ?

See, you can't answer that question; and neither can I.

I feel like this when I plan long distance. I know me. I know my family. I know our desires, our dreams, and our goals. Those are constant (represented by the 8). But then there's that blank--variables, unpredictable outcomes, unexpected problems.

Though I'm not a big fan of it, I admit planning is important. It's an exercise that fosters direction, focus, and clarity. It facilitates cooperation.

I am not against planning.

However, I am against writing marriage contracts with your plans. Don't commit to your plans so vehemently that you ignore the possibility that alternate choices might be better than your original plan.

Let your plans change as life unfolds. Don't change your dreams. Don't change your goals. Don't change your direction. But change your plans.

Use alternate routes. 

Find new methods. 

Acquire new assets and skills to achieve your goals. 

If you're goals are well established, you can rewrite your math problem with a little more clarity.

8  x  _____ = 6,216

You geeks out there figured out the answer. And you think you've pinned my analogy as stupid.

Wait, wait, wait.

Yes, the answer is 777. But how many ways are there to acquire 777? A lot.

194.25  x  4 = 777

6,993 / 9 = 777

776 + 1 = 777

800 - 23 = 777

Four different methods and lots of different numbers can bring you to 777.

Set your goals. Hope for the future; but be willing to roll with the punches along the way, and keep your eyes on the prize. 

Psalm 37:5 Commit your way unto the Lord. Trust also in him, and He shall bring it to pass.

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