I got an email the other day. It seems someone who visited my site doesn’t believe in planning and wrote me this note saying that plans are worthless because sometimes things just don’t happen as you have planned.
Here’s my answer:
Yes, that’s true, you can’t control life and it definitely has its own power. Is this a reason not to plan, though? I mean, giving up planning because you might fail is like not getting out of your house on a cloudy day because it might rain, or not taking an airplane because it might crash or not falling in love because you might get your heart broken. Avoid doing something because of the risks involved is definitely not the way to go, but the main reason why you should plan is: if you don’t, you might not get anywhere.
If you do plan, maybe things won’t turn out the way you thought and you’re taking the risk of failing, if things go right though you’ll succeed. On the other hand, if you don’t plan, you’ll be stuck where you are for the rest of your life or you might face failure after failure because when you don’t plan, you don’t think about the risks and you don’t prepare for them. There’s a famous quote that says: failing to plan is planning to fail!
If you’re struggling, wondering why your actions don’t seem to get you anywhere, maybe what you lack the most is focus. You cannot be focused on something if you don’t have a direction, and that’s what goals and plans are for, they keep you on track to get you to a certain place. Most of the time, simple lack of planning leads to procrastination and when you procrastinate, you fail at getting things done, when things aren’t done, there’s no results to show for, you just run in circles doing the old same things over and over again with no progress.
Fear of failure or mistakes shouldn’t be a reason to avoid planning, as most achievements were built upon the learning experience of failing over and over. Thomas Edison tried and failed more than 10.000 times before he could make the first light bulb work.
If things don’t happen as you plan, just review your plans, tweak things here and there and go ahead. Just keep your main goal in mind and never give up, one day you’ll get there. This may sound superficial, but if you’re actually working towards something (really doing work, not just “coasting” with your goal “in mind”) you’ll start to see incremental results over time.
As long as your goals are reasonable, there’s no reason to fear failure. I have nothing to say to someone that dreams of being a rock star or working in Hollywood expecting to be the next Brad Pitt, but if your goals are things that a “regular” human being can achieve, there’s no reason YOU can’t, even if things seem hard or there’s some pitfalls along the way.