What we feed our minds is easily as important as what we feed our bodies.
Wholehearted is soulfood for your mind, a weekly observation to nudge your thinking and warm your heart.
Earlier this year I led a group of travellers who wanted to experience North Vietnam without worrying about the arrangements. A perfect solution for human brains that crave variety while disliking uncertainty. With the schedule was set, my role was to make it go smoothly. Fabulous for a holiday, but your life is not a guided tour.
The fourth principle for a better life is to have a plan, not an itinerary. The future is unknown territory where detailed plans oft go astray. Just ask those who waited until retirement before fulfilling lifelong dreams. Some ask why bother planning if life is so unpredictable? It’s because a great life needs a sense of purpose and direction. Just don’t get too attached to the detail.
Why? Three reasons.
Flexibility gives you the opportunity to take a better option. It’s the ultimate form of control, really. Holding on with an open palm allows for serendipity and experimentation with other possibilities that might be even better.
A plan means you don’t get too wedded to the outcome. At age 18, I wanted to make radio documentaries, but three applications failed and I gave up. Dreams were abandoned as I thought there was only one way to achieve my goal. The not-good-enough stories ran my head for decades. My Nana used to say that if you didn’t have expectations you wouldn’t be disappointed, but it’s a cynical response to our need for hope. Holding plans lightly gives you resilience when things don’t work out as you expect.
When an itinerary goes awry, disappointment makes everything else feels second best. A plan allows for curiosity. Who else can you be? What else can you do?
A plan means you get to choose at every corner. When my daughters were small, Sunday drives included the game of ‘left, right or straight ahead.’ Everyone took a turn at deciding our direction. A plan, not an itinerary. The game was the journey, not the destination.
So, what’s your next choice?
Inspiration in your inbox.