For those who like to plan, it can be a tough challenge when life throws curveballs and your plans have to change. It can feel frustrating when external forces, that you had no control over, force you to make that change. Events like this can make some people say “what’s the point in planning?”
Planning is a great tool to help people reach their goals. It’s much easier to pass the bar exam or lose 15 pounds if you have a plan in place on how you will accomplish that goal, instead of just studying when the urge hits or not having a diet plan you can actually stick to. What makes an effective planner is the ability to adapt to change, and not take the bumps in the road as personal attacks on your plan.
A written down plan allows the user to look back on it and learn from the process. Where did the plan go wrong? What went right? What changed due to external, unforeseen circumstances? What problems presented themselves that could have been predicted? What are the key takeaways that can be used when planning in the future? If there is no plan, it’s hard to note where a person was effective or ineffective in pursuing their plan. Without the data, one can only make broad assumptions about what worked and what did not. Just as many believed index investing would lead to subpar returns compared to active management, before they saw the actual historical data.
Those that think “what’s the point in planning” miss the value of a well thought out plan, which far outweighs the fact that we know the future is uncertain. While I am a planner at heart, I also feel that there is a large benefit to living in the moment. While living in the moment works for certain life events, other events such as retirement, careers, long-term relationships, or important hobbies should have some sort of long-term plan surrounding them. This is because what you put into your plan will have a direct impact on what you receive at the finish line.
A plan mixed with the ability to adapt to unforeseen events makes a successful outcome all the more probable. A plan without the ability to adapt is useless, because when one event goes against the plan, if there is no adapting to the new scenario the plan automatically fails. When trying to reach a goal, if the individual is able to adapt their plan, the unforeseen circumstance will not be as catastrophic because alternative paths would have already been considered. I’d rather plan for the uncertain, and be ready for it, than go forward blindly allowing the uncertain to dictate my future outcomes.