“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” ~ Joseph Campbell.
There are countless times when I couldn’t get something I really wanted, and when I let it go and stopped struggling, something better appeared. It later occurred to me that the blessings were there all along, waiting for me to receive them.
The more I resisted and hung on to what I’d planned, the more blinded I was to see the new life that was waiting for me.
I’ve always thought I am good in planning and laying strategies. But I’ve also recognized that sometimes my strengths can get in the way of something better, something new entirely.
Life often occur very differently from the way we plan it. We can visualize, set goals, strategize and write comprehensive plans, but they won’t mean much if we’re not willing to let go of them and open up when something better comes our way.
It’s not that we don’t need plans. Far from it. It’s wise to set a direction and prepare to move forward. However, we need to accept that there are too many variables and changes that are beyond our control, and be open to the possibility that life can and will often surprise us.
The great Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces Dwight D. Eisenhower famously said, “In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable.”
When we are planning for emergencies, we have to be clear first of all that the very definition of “emergency” is that it is unexpected, vastly different from what we could have foreseen or planned. Many times, there’s nothing we can do to prevent them from happening. All we can do is decide what to do with them.
In the same way that emergencies and crisis can unexpectedly happen, good surprises and serendipity can delight us too. They sometimes appear in ways beyond our wildest dreams. Would you be ready to recognize and accept them when they surface?
Shifting Into Your New Life This Year
1. Do some life planning
As uncle Joe said (the quote I began this article with), there are two lives that we can live in – the one we planned, and the one that’s waiting for us. Strangely, I often find that without doing the former, I won’t be able to see the latter. Possibilities often open up when I start seeking and moving.
I have a very limited idea of what a good life for me is (even in my wildest imagination), God knows better. But I’ve to first seek, ask and knock.
2. Expect and accept changes and chaos
While you set your personal and business goals and plans for the New Year (and they’re all good), accept that you cannot control the winds and tides of life. Accepting that is key.
There’s only so much we can foresee and plan. The adventure and fun begin when we step into the unknown.
3. Don’t let your vision be limited by goals
Let your personal goal-setting process guide and inform you of the direction without letting it narrow your vision and limit your opportunities.
Don’t set your sight fixed only on the finishing line that you forget to relish the journey and experiences along the way, and be open to unexpected surprises that may help you accomplish your goals better, and new relationships that will make the journey sweeter.
4. Adapt, bend like the grass
It’s not about how good your plans are, but how well you adapt to situations and chaos and act accordingly.
“The green reed that bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm.” ~ Confucius
Don’t be too rigid on how things should go. We possess the ability to shift our way of seeing, understanding and doing to a whole new level if we do not stubbornly defend a fixed position.
Be like the flexible grass that bends gracefully no matter how hard the wind blows. If we resist and defend like a rigid branch, we would break sooner or later.
5. Let the past remain in the past
The past is smoke, they no longer exist.
Whether last year was good or bad, it’s over. If we’re willing to give up the feelings attached to our triumphs and mistakes in the past, we can invest our energy into the present better. You can’t engage wholly now without letting go of the past.
Are you ready to step into a life that is waiting for you this year?