A Lack of Detail

Plans that lack details aren’t really plans at all.

Right now my plans for the next few years are fairly concrete, but after that is somewhat of a toss-up. I am hesitant to plan more than 3-4 years into the future in any concrete way simply because the accuracy of plans that far into the future is pretty close to zero. There are variables that are far out of my control. I could lose my job, get diagnosed with a life-changing illness, get into a debilitating accident, find new interests, outgrow old interests, flunk out of school, get married, buy a home.

I also hesitate to make plans far into the future because if I hold to them too closely I could potentially miss out on great opportunities as well. Not owning a home is key to being able to drastically change my life once school and work are over with in a few years, but what if a great opportunity to buy comes along that would make me more comfortable in the short-term and better off financially in four or five years when I simply sell the property and move on to other things? The rigidity of planning not to be tied down to property would keep me from exploring that opportunity.

Right now, when school is over, I hope to quit working for good and do a bit of travelling for a couple of years before settling down and building a business. But what if while in school an opportunity for a job I love comes along? -That elusive job you would do even if you weren’t being paid. I can’t imagine such a job, but perhaps my imagination is failing me and school will expose me to opportunities I didn’t think were possible. I’d hate to suffer the disappointment of giving up on well-laid plans or forgoing a great opportunity simply to stick to some well-laid plans.

But ultimately such thoughts are ridiculous. Plans help you to organize and focus your goals. The bigger the plans the better. Having big plans makes people happy. Not realizing those big plans reduces your levels of happiness, but not by more than the levels your happiness have been increased simply by attempting to reach those goals. This is according to some positive psychology studies from a class last spring.

Like in archery, in order to hit a target at a distance you must aim a little higher than where you are hoping to hit.

So while I have several ideas about what I might like to do once school is over with, it would really be in my best interest to nail-down exactly what I plan to do after my final graduation; regardless of whether I actually follow through with them or not. I’ll save that pleasant task for while I’m finishing off a bottle of Sherry some Sunday evening in the coming weeks.

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