57. What are the benefits of not having a plan? #LifeWideLearning16 @bhwilkoff
— Zac Chase (@MrChase) February 27, 2016
I’m often aware that that I need far less planning than others need in order to move forward. In general, I do not need task lists or long-term timelines. Rather, I rely upon a few guiding principles and general workstreams to determine what should happen next. This tends to work extremely well when I am not dependent upon others, but much less well when other people have to join me in the work.
And therein lies the benefits and detriments of not having a plan.
Planning isn’t really for you. Planning is for others that you might need to communicate with. Planning is for sharing progress and working collaboratively. It is for building capacity and coalitions. When you make a plan, you are committing yourself to others rather than just making promises that you can easily rationalize or retract.
And that is what makes not planning into a luxury that can only be held within yourself. You are untethered to a plan about what you are doing on Saturday afternoon, and that feels wonderful. You can change your intentions at a moments notice and be truly serendipitous with your energies. But, if you are too often untethered, you will start to feel alone. You will know that unless you build a plan with someone, you will never truly connect.
Life is nothing more than a series of promises that we make to one another about where we will be and what we will be doing there. If we make no promises, we will not be burdened by having to keep them. That is simultaneously freeing and isolating. If we make promises, we will be forced to reconcile when we cannot keep them despite our best efforts. If we make promises, we cannot be self-sufficient. We must rely on others who have also made promises to us. We further entangle ourselves in promises, and therefore, planning.
To plan is to be together, for better and worse.
To not plan is to be alone, for better and worse.