Why It's Time to Throw Away Your Five-Year Plan
Not knowing what you want to do in life is not only ok, but an asset.
I grew up believing that in order to be “successful” I needed a plan.
So plan I did.
I planned where I was going to work, when, and even what my role would be. I envisioned my hobbies and my online presence and how I would go about making it happen. What could go wrong? I had a plan.
Of course, I learnt the hard way that life isn't linear. And those five-year plans? Total. Bullshit.
My reality is this: I like my situation now, but will I still in a year's time? I can't say. I've achieved some success, and yet I still don’t know "where I’m going". Or what I want to “do with my life”.
But, actually, why do these bold questions need definitive answers?
If you want to lead an interesting life, the answers to those questions should be forever changing. It’s ok to not know where you're going. It’s ok to try something, change your mind and start over again. It's ok to not have a clue how your future looks.
Most people never do.
Five-year plans imply that your life as it currently stands isn't enough. But it is. And anything else that happens along the way is a bonus.
Your life isn’t meant to be mapped, perfectly planned or pushed through the tunnel you believe to be the “right” one.
Instead, your life is meant to embraced and accepted for where it’s at right now.
My existence, your existence, that person who you think has their shit together’s existence? Behind closed doors, it's often messy. Being human is messy.
The sooner you start embracing the mess, the easier the everyday becomes.
Not to mention the head space you gain when you stop always trying to perfectly plan your next move.
Nowadays, when people ask me what my plan is, I proudly say "I don't know". Because I don't and I'm done pretending I do. And as long as I'm learning, growing as a person and experiencing new and different things, I'm more than ok with that.
Let me make myself clear: I’m not saying planning ahead is entirely useless. It's great! Absolutely! Plan your lunch tomorrow, how much money you want to save this month, the intricacies of your imaginary wedding on a secret Pinterest board (no? Just me?). Plan the little things if you so please.
Plan and think about the kind of person you want to be.
But planning your career? And expecting an outcome that feels like you’ve "made it"? Not only is it pointless, but it makes you less open to unexpected opportunities as they arise.
Public service announcement:
You may never have a moment where you feel like you’ve "arrived".
You're unlikely to ever have a “perfect job”.
You probably won’t ever feel like you’ve reached your strict definition of "success".
And really, if you think about it, how liberating is that?
Know it’s going to be a mess. Your mess. A beautiful mess.