Your Life Plan — What Everybody Ought to Know

This post serves as a collection of thoughts as I reflect on creating my own life plan and thinking about where I see myself five, ten or even fifteen years from now.

Is creating a life plan necessary?

I don’t have a life plan, nor do I intend to write one (well…for now).

Should we really be living our lives according to a plan? The plans that we have always envisioned for ourselves and how we should live them. A plan in which we outline that dictates our life and daily decisions.

Having a life plan causes us to miss life. We forget to live.

The unexpected moments are what shape our lives, both the good and the bad, and all of those in between. Tweet this

It’s the perspective and lens in which we put on them that allows us to continue moving forward and grow.

Living within a plan we tend to have tunnel vision to a specific destination and we miss things, usually the small things that truly define our lives, the things that write our story.

The plan ultimately creates itself by listening to our hearts.

We all of course need aspirations and it’s important to dream (BIG); but, do we need plans written out in order to get there? Might it be possible that we are wired to naturally get there by living each day with utmost appreciation, gratitude, drive, motivation and desire to constantly be better, to do the things that makes us feel good?

When we have a life plan we are striving to cross the finish line of a destination (that’s what goals are, sure), but, I don’t want to make it to the destination. I want to continually live, to continually grow, to continually experience. What happens when we reach the destination or the finish line, what’s next?

If we have a vision, or idea, of how happiness becomes fulfilled in our lives, this is what we strive to achieve. The plan for opportunities naturally piece together, one we might have least expected. (If you have twenty minutes, watch this Ted Talk; Shawn Achor: The Happy Secret to Better Work)

Where will you be in ten years from now?

I, to be completely honest, can’t see my life five years from now, let alone ten. I don’t know where I will be or where I think I will be.

All that I know that I want is to be healthy, to continually be striving to be a better person, to be happy and to be with the people I love; my wife, my son, my dog, my family, my friends and my new friends. I want to be making a difference, I want to have purpose, I want to feel good.

This all transpires by listening to, and trusting my heart. This dictates who I surround myself with. That sparks my drive and motivation in how I pursue projects and work.

It’s a domino effect when my decisions are made by listening to the core of who I am (my heart) and who I aspire to be.

Life plans piece together naturally.

If happiness is our plan, if personal growth is our plan, if striving to make a difference in our own life and the lives around us is our plan, if feeling good is our plan, the life plan will piece together naturally. Our destiny will unfold organically.

I used to envision myself living the American Dream; living in a large expensive home and driving nice vehicles. How I would get there is by working my tail off (doing, or not doing, the things I love) climbing the corporate ladder.

I’ve come to realize that this isn’t what I want nor what I yearn for each day. This is a made up fairly tale of happiness and success.

I have been thinking about this for a while now and was extremely fearful to share not knowing if I am alone on this or not.

Am I wrong, or an uninspiring individual, for truly not being able to picture my life ten years from now? Is it wrong that I don’t want to see it? Is it wrong that I don’t want to be disappointed because the life plan I might have created two years ago wasn’t really the plan for me from the beginning. Is it wrong to just trust my heart and live? Is it wrong for my plan to just be happy and feel good?

Striving for happiness and continuous self improvement is what fuels our lives.

What I do know is that I want to live a life of me. I don’t want to live a life according to a plan that I created that I think is, or was, right for me at that time.

We are constantly reinventing ourselves, we are constantly changing, we are constantly being gravitated towards new things, new people, new experiences.

We need to allow room for that reinvention and experience the change without limiting ourselves to a plan. Tweet this

Sometimes having a life plan gives us false hope and we deem ourselves as failures because we haven’t stuck to the plan. Or an unexpected moment interrupted our plan, when in fact, with a little bit of perspective it was a blessing in disguise and part of the plan all along – though, it just wasn’t documented.

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path; and that will make all the difference.

– Steve Jobs, Stanford commencement speech, June 2005

I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. You need to trust and believe that the dots will connect down the road so you can have the confidence to follow your heart.

This isn’t a pass from working hard.

What I am not saying is that because we are connecting the dots looking backwards, that doesn’t mean we don’t have to work hard; that we don’t have to hustle; that we can lack drive and motivation and that we don’t have to live in the grind.

We have to do all of those things to keep moving forward. We have to work our tails off at becoming a better person, at launching and executing on our projects, our work, our art.

Without it, there aren’t any dots to connect.

What I am saying is that by following our heart and trusting that the dots will somehow connect, leads us on an unbeaten path. A path we couldn’t have dreamt up while creating our life plan. Those unexpected moments and experiences are what shape our plan, our life plan.

Or maybe it’s this…

Maybe we do need a plan. One that looks a bit different though.

Maybe what I have been describing is Desire Mapping; where instead of planning your life around a list of arbitrary goals that leave you feeling empty, you’re making decisions by paying attention to your heart and feelings that then makes up that list. A list with more meaning, fulfillment and purpose.

A plan where the primary objective is feeling good.

Be spontaneous. Try and do new things. Love. Trust. Get uncomfortable. Live purely for the moment that is right now. Aspire. Tweet this

Are you living according to a plan? Do you think not having a plan is irresponsible, causes unclarity or isn’t aspirational?


About Eric Ungs

Eric Ungs writes about a journey of intentional self growth, nudging you to let go; to give yourself permission to be vulnerable and honest with yourself so you can give your best self to others. Author of 10 Incredible Ways to Live a Fulfilling and Joyful Life ebook.