The Case For Making Plans Rather Than Winging It

The Case For Making Plans Rather Than Winging It

All the hip kids are winging it. Anything else and you’re a control freak. “just chill man, whatever happens, happens. Let nature take it’s course.” they’ll no doubt espouse. And to an extent, they are perfectly correct (but no more hip for that); whatever happens, does indeed do exactly that, it happens.

I totally get it. Common sense (we’ll come back to that turd wrangling phrase) dictates that if you simply wing your way through the processes of your life then you’ll remain a zen mofo, blissfully ignorant and calmly wading through the mellow waters of your predetermined happenings. Everything turning out just as peachy as possible with none of the anxieties of evil planning to hold back your tranquility. But is that really how it works?

There’s a Yin & Yang to planning. You plan just enough and you’ll fix hot dates into your life full of awesome stuff. You plan too much and the opposite happens, you plan things out of your life instead.

Here’s the rub.

Planning is responsible for the things you look forward to. It means you can wake up every morning for 6 months and look forward to that holiday with your family (or adventure in the mountains, spa with your better half, walking the dog this afternoon, date night, date day, date surprise). It means you can get excited with people you love about the things on your shared horizon. It will make work easier to bare, money worth earning and everybody just generally carry a more positive vibe. You dig? You can’t wing the adventure of a lifetime, and you should always have one planned (or 6).

Winging it might feel as hip as a beard (I know, exactly) but will it deliver?

Don’t confuse laid back with not planning, very different things. Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? Run more? Meditate more? Eat less crap? Drink less booze? Try doing that for 2 weeks without a plan. Sorry, but you won’t. You do that by setting goals. And on that subject, make them goals you can meet. The perfect diet plan you stick to for a week and then quit is not as good as the OK diet plan you stick to for good. Set the bar low, make it easy, but plan your route.

Plan to fail. It’s the stoic thing to do man.

If you’ve already got a contingency plan then who cares if you cock it up? Mistakes make everything better. Philosopher, Daniel Dennett said:

“The chief trick to making good mistakes is not to hide them — especially not from yourself.”

Think about this: Over 90% of creatures that have ever lived, died childless. But that didn’t happen to a single one of YOUR ancestors. Things will probably turn out just fine whether you wing it or not, but if you grab that calendar, sit down with your loved ones (or even just with yourself, your number one loved one) and make some plans, big and small, and stick to them, all that glorious looking forward to time will be as precious a shared thing as the thing itself.

So to recap:

  • Plan your goals so you can win at them
  • Plan adventures and look forward to them
  • Plan to fail because failing is crazy good
  • Don’t plan so hard you plan stuff OUT – Balance

And when you’re on that mountain, in that cabin, disconnected from tech but connected to those you love, to nature, to yourself; when the calendar has finally got to NOW. You know what to do with that time, right? Just wing it.

On ‘Common Sense’

We often hear how ‘if only common sense had been displayed’ or ‘he just has no common sense’. What does common sense mean? The wisdom of the masses? The wisdom of sheep? Lemmings? Common sense is a widely held belief, nothing more. Common sense once dicated that the earth was flat and that butter was bad for you and that ‘it didn’t do us any harm when we were kids’. Assume nothing, be the experiment.

Picture credit: Me (from our recent adventure in Madeira that wouldn’t have happened if we’d winged it).

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