I’m a person of lists and plans. I always want to have a plan for the short and longer term. I need to be organized to feel comfortable and be in control.
However, I was also taught by my teacher early on in my martial arts training, that situations constantly change and we need to adapt to new opportunities and challenges. As they say in the military: “all plans are outdated upon first contact with the enemy”.
Have a plan and follow it. However, watch out for unexpected opportunities and be flexible enough to change your plan to embrace them.
We need to have a plan and a goal to know where we want to go to, and to make progress towards that destination, instead of wandering aimlessly around (“going nowhere fast”). However, that plan must not make us myopic and oblivious for necessary change.
Throughout my life, I always had a plan, but the best things happened when an unexpected opportunity presented itself and I reached out for it. Even though many times I was scared to my bones.
Having a plan and working towards it, prepares us to be ready for the moment when opportunities present themselves. However, if we don’t make the leap and grasp them, all the preparation was for nothing.
Have a plan, work on it. Prepare yourself, but be ready to drop your plan and adjust to the moment when needed. Don’t be scared of unexpected opportunities. They are when magic happens in life.
I recently read a very similar idea in ‘Racing Winter on the Pacific Crest Trail’, by Kyle S Rohrig. It goes like this:
There are always doors that open unexpectedly for us. Walk through them. After you walk through an open door, new doors will open up behind, eventually leading to an endless universe of open doors and opportunities. You find good thing behind open doors.
If you close the door, the opportunities end right there. That’s it, end of story, you’re stuck. Being stuck is stagnation. Stagnation is the beginning of the end.
Or in the words of Daoism:
When we are young we are flexible, we push out, we try new things and grow. When we stop being curious and flexible, we get hard. When we get hard, we break, crumble and fade away.
Be open, be flexible, see opportunities!
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