It’s a new word, as these things are measured, although none of us was alive when it started to be used. 🙂
Again, being in a hurry to live, I will ignore the etymology for the time being, and that is difficult as it can mean so many things and link to so many concepts I have talked about already, like intent, motivation, practicality.
But for today, I will limit myself to a few observations on plans.
I was talking to a friend about being muddled, as it sometimes happen when you don’t have a plan of action. Being on the impulsive side, I immediately started to make the connections with spontaneity, on which there is already a blog article. But something didn’t sit right with that comparison. It is true that being spontaneous implies no plan, but it certainly doesn’t imply being muddled. Impulses are by nature quite clear, or so they appear to me. I don’t mean you have to give in to them, but it is clear what those impulses would have you do and the satisfaction that follows is linked to how well you have executed the clear instructions 🙂
But if neither spontaneity nor being muddled imply a plan of action, is there a connection? I tend to think there isn’t. Being muddled means you can’t be really spontaneous, just caught in whatever life has decided to throw at you; in short, it means no control. Spontaneity links to making a decision without an obvious trigger, being muddled means that you react to a very obvious trigger.
So having a plan for the routines of life means that your brain can afford to be spontaneous when it comes to the opportunities of life. It also helps with those impulses by allowing you to remain in control. So once all the bills are paid and the weekend is upon you, you could say “let’s go travel” and you won’t come back to disaster. You steer the boat, not let it blow this way and that way at the mercy of circumstances.
Some plans depend on the actions of others, or on enough time passing, or even on opportunities presenting themselves. So having a plan is also very good exercise for patience (or stubborness 😛 ).
There is one more issue I need to plan for now. You see, once I develop a habit I am obviously reluctant to give it up. So before I acquire it I need to think very carefully if the habit will be beneficial in the long term or is just a short-term release/coping mechanism. It isn’t perfect, but you can add a coda to the action that will become a habit which tells the brain to regard said action as temporary rather than permanent. For example, I am in the habit of using same coloured pegs when I hang out the washing. The mild discomfort I feel when I break this habit isn’t really worth mentioning. The habit also doesn’t impact greatly on my life, maybe a minute more spent doing it this way. But having several habits like this might mean the difference between being content with life and being hemmed in by it. I know which one I’d choose, so I will plan my habits too 🙂