We may not be able to see the future, but we can use a couple of tools to get a pretty good idea.
The first one is a vision.
When we have a vision, whether, for a business or a product or just ourselves in ten years, we’re choosing the future we want.
We may not be certain how it will pan out. It will rarely feel the same as we imagine. But we can be sure that it will look pretty close, as long as we use the second tool: plans.
Once we have a vision, we can make a plan.
And once we have a plan, all we have to do is stick with it and get the future we chose (or something very like it) sooner or later. Often, it’s later than we’d like but sooner than we expect.
Nothing is unattainable if we have a strong vision and a plan to get there.
Sadly, many people don’t realize that it’s as easy as that, and they never choose a vision at all.
The best plan of action is rarely the most attractive.
Change rarely looks the way we think it will when we start looking for it.
It might even look exactly the opposite of what we want to do. Mostly, change just looks very different from what we expect.
When the plan we get doesn’t look how we want or expect it to, that’s probably a sign it will work — and bring the change we seek.
For best results, execute the plan you least want to.
The world is full of convenient stories, and one of them is that other people can help you get what you want.
That probably seems morbid, but the truth is that most people haven’t even figured out how to get what they want. And what we want is prone to change.
It’s often a struggle to decide what we want for dinner, let alone what we want to do with our life.
Maya Angelou has a great line that goes, “Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”
The way I see it, we’re all out here shirtless in one way or another. And as we’re headed on a long journey, there’s no telling what the weather might do on the way.
I’m no Maya Angelou, so the best I can do is, “Pack a jumper just in case.”
Sometimes all it takes is a word and we feel out of place.
It casts such a long shadow of doubt over our plans that we decide to rearrange them completely.
We abandon our race.
But there’s a difference between listening to a coach’s advice and running someone else’s race. And the best coaches will tell you to always run your own race no matter what.
Even Usain Bolt can’t tell you how to run your race.
So what if someone thinks you’re going too slow or even in the wrong direction.
The best we’ll ever do when we run someone else’s race is silver.
We might not always win when we run our own race.
But we always have a chance.
The way it happens is rarely how we planned.
Even when we’ve planned how we’ll react if it happens, for some reason, that never pans out how we intended either.
But it’s important to remember that it happens because it happening is the whole point, not because we’re weak or lazy or stupid.
The best we can do is know that it will happen one way or another, and when it does happen, just be grateful that it did.
Because if it didn’t happen, something else certainly would.
And there’s no telling what that could be.
It often seems like the quickest way to get through a long to-do list is to rush through as many things as possible.
The hope is that at the end of a few hours, we can look back at a crossed-off list and feel content.
But the list constantly grows. And the little things turn out to be bigger and more tiresome than we predicted.
By the end of the day, only half the list is ticked, and we’re completely zonked.
On days when I settle for less — just the one big thing — I almost always find that I have the time and the energy to do a few of the small things too.
Settling for less often turns out to be way more productive.
A cheap way to learn something about ourselves is by using a calendar.
Once we have to commit to a specific time on a particular day, it’s suddenly very obvious when we don’t want to do something; when it isn’t a priority.
That goes for whether we ought to be doing it or not.
Calendars, agendas, and schedulers aren’t just to write down what we think we want to do.
They can tell us how much we want to do it, too.