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This last weekend was an adventurous one. Kyle (my same-named best friend) and I went shopping for the new apartment. By shopping, I mean that we went to the shops, bought nothing (except for a Lindt brownie and a piece of Oreo cheesecake, that was supposed have been baked but turned out to be the fridge kind) and decided, on the spot, to drive up the coast on a random adventure. Both Kyle and I enjoy the thrill of not planning much, letting adventure be what adventure is. But, obviously, having absolutely no plan would end up in an array of difficult situations, some including starvation. So we whipped out the map and decided on a random destination, filled up the tank, grabbed some avocados and seed loaf, and off we went.

The weekend was filled with random craziness. Stargazing, fires, crazy locals, little huts with bunk beds, a plague of sea crickets of biblical proportions, a broken beer, techno music and a plate of bangers and mash just to name a few. If the weather held up, we would have added diving and rock jumping to that list. But it did get me thinking. None of this would have gone down if we had planned the trip. If we had planned everything, we would have found ourselves exactly where we thought we would go, doing exactly what we thought we would do, having a good time I am sure, but void of the excitement of the unknown.

I have found that planning too much creates a bottleneck in your life. It strangles adventure. True, this approach is not for everyone, but it is definitely the more exciting route to take. And I love excitement. I think that the Universe is made up of possibilities. That at any given point, there are an infinite collection of events that are “waiting” to occur in our lives. All we have to do is create space for them. Planning takes up that space, allowing only a small portion of those events to take place.

Now, obviously, I am not saying “don’t plan at all.” That would result in you sitting in your apartment for the rest of your days. I am saying “create a skeleton plan and then let the rest happen”. So, using this weekend as an example, our plan consisted of the following:

  • Go on a trip.
  • Pack food for the trip.
  • Pack a tent in case.
  • Pick a direction.
  • Be awesome.

The over all plan was something that initiated action, rather than dictated it. We let the rest unfold as we went safe guarding against a few eventualities. I know that Kyle and I get grumpy when we are hungry so food was a definite necessity and a tent was a fail safe. Everything else was taken as it came, and in the end we didn’t even eat the food or use the tent.

I think that living your entire life to that extreme may be a little short-sighted, but I definitely think the principal can be applied. A need for too much control can stifle a host of things in your life. Opportunities often present themselves when you are in a different head space. They may have even been there all along, just out side of the perspective you had at the time. Letting things unfold as you go, allows for a shift in perspective. It allows for things to happen to you that you may not have thought possible before. It allows adventure to create itself in your life.

Planning is important, we can’t move through life waiting for things to happen to us. Rather, use planning to meet life half way. Use a plan to create an opportunity for action, rather than to foresee every moment of it.

Planning should be used for direction, not control.

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