The Problem with Planning

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Questioner: “Is not gradualness the law of life?”

Maharaj: “Oh, no.  The preparation alone is gradual, the change itself is sudden and complete.  Gradual change does not take you to a new level…  You need courage to let go.”

Questioner: “But I need time to collect my courage…to ripen for action.”

Maharaj: “The entire approach is wrong.  Action delayed is action abandoned.  There may be other chances for other actions, but the present moment is lost – irretrievably lost.  All preparation is for the future – you cannot prepare for the present.”

Preparation and planning are intoxicating.

We write plans to feel in control and make the ‘right’ decisions.  And yet, we focus our energies on past and future – on things outside our control.  We create and follow a plan that is akin to one big spin of the Roulette Wheel.  We’ll refute this notion, but it’s the truth.

I’ve always been a big planner.  When business would go sour, I’d crunch numbers, review best practices, and spend days creating a detailed plan of action.  I was paralyzed by planning.  As fate would have it, I decided to change my approach. I wanted to see what life would be like if I decided to act in the moment, to ride the energy of inspiration and conviction.

I still have plans.  It’s just that their scope and purpose have shifted.  I’m now free from second guessing and fear, free from an untold number of things.  Today, my ‘plans’ are designed to keep me focused on the present while being mindful of the future.  It’s a dynamic process that keeps me in action mode.  I learn and see by doing.

People will tell you a well thought out plan is a must.  I disagree.  Courageously following your convictions may be scary, but following a plan that has no connection with reality is even scarier.

Let action follow your conviction.

If inspiration hits you, give it the attention it deserves at that very moment.  Don’t be lulled to sleep by your preparations. Follow the energy.  It will lead you to the knowing you thought planning would open.

And remember: “Action delayed is action abandoned.”



  1. Katherine Gordy Levine  July 20, 2010

    Ahhh, nice, but the middle way is probably better. I am impulsive and that can lead to all the wrong actions which is why I think I was often a FAT head. Someone who Felt, Acted, then Thought OMG; and EFT’s motto is Feel, Think, Act. Thinking is deciding what to do and even in a room filling with smoke thinking for only a few seconds can save your life.

  2. Brenda Bomgardner  July 20, 2010

    Being n the present moment and staying in the here and now is something I encourage my clients to practice. There is only so much I can do about the past and the future. I somethimes forget this when it comes to business matters. However, even my business decisions are present moment with an eye on the future. I like the saying, “The past is history, the future is a mystery and today is a gift, that is why they call it the present.” Just what I needed to hear! Not sure who wrote the quote?

  3. David  July 20, 2010

    Thanks Katherine for the post. I decided this week to see if I can get any folks to give alternative opinions. Thought it might spark something during the hot summer months. Good point about balance indeed.

    I still have to say (to Brenda’s point) that once I leaned more towards action and the present moment I started seeing some fun and exciting changes take place.

  4. Linda Peterson  July 20, 2010

    Have to say I agree, David. I can always find a hundred reasons not to follow through on many of the ideas I have. The key is to “be impulsive in the direction of positive change”.

  5. Kathy Murphy  July 21, 2010

    How thought provoking. Isn’t it wonderful how something comes along just when you need to hear it? I love planning. I also love it when the universe sends me something bigger and better than I had ever planned for! The willingness to let go of my best ideas and plans is a true act of faith for me. I welcome the opportunity to practice…..

  6. David  July 26, 2010

    “impulsive in the direction of positive change”. I’m going to have to write that down and put it somewhere I can see everyday. thanks Linda. I love that!

  7. David  July 26, 2010

    Kathy – I’ve also discovered that when I am less rigid with my goals I am more open to opportunity. I find it keeps me alert to whatever messages are meant to come my way.

  8. Jeffrey Nigro  October 12, 2010

    It all comes down to action in the end does it not? No one sees your plan. No one sees your thoughts, feelings, etc. They only see your actions. Everything else is hearsay…

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