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November 22nd, 2019
Things don’t always go according to plan. This is an often spoken understatement. Things rarely go exactly according to plan. But where do we go wrong in the formation of our plan? Do we simply wave this question away with a few words about the unpredictable and the unexpected? Perhaps.
Let’s play around with an analogy in order to explore the nature of plans.
Let’s say you are given a box filled with random seeds and you are tasked with cataloging which seeds are produce which types of fruit. What will this process look like?
Naturally, you plant every different type of seed you find in the box. And the smaller, faster growing plants are going to yield their fruit fairly quickly, whereas the tree species might take years to reveal their secrets. And those larger trees might not ever produce any kind of edible fruit. The intuition behind this is obvious, but let’s apply it once more to plans.
Do we make small short plans?
Or do we envision many months and years into the future?
Often we think these go hand in hand.
Well, of course we want a long term plan, and in order to get there, we need to break it up into smaller plans.
In this sense, our short term plans are really just expressions of a long term plan.
The real question about short term plans is: do we form these plans with a genuine interest in the results they produce or do we form these plans because we expect them to lead towards our long term results?
This is a subtle distinction. If we are making short term plans, but with a larger grand plan in mind, we are likely to create blindspots for ourselves, falsely interpreting the results of short term plans so that they still fit into the narrative of a large grand plan.
Our approach to life is often polar:
We are either taking it as it comes or running full speed towards some goal.
But where is the middle ground?
Might it be more effective to make small plans that purposely fit into no larger hope or goal?
Are we more likely to take in the information from short plans if they are derivative of a larger goal or if they are undertaken for it’s own sake?
Another way of approaching this distinction is to use the perspective of curiosity.
Does curiosity have a grand plan?
Or does it discover as it goes?