Vishal Ostwal

I Write About Life

Why You Should Stop Planning Your Life (and Embrace Uncertainty)

Why You Should Stop Planning Life

“When I remain too careful, I feel my life starts losing its meaning. I’d rather watch, smile and let life have its way.”

We’re told that we’re supposed to plan life. If aren’t able to visualize a future beyond five years or something, we’re irresponsible. I believed the same until I realized life seems almost meaningless when it’s planned.

Over the past few years, I made lists. I finished what I had on them. I felt a bit successful, too. But to be honest, between the planning and getting what I wanted, I felt some sort of blankness.

In the end, it didn’t matter much to me – because I knew what was going to happen next. Always. I knew what I was going to do. So, there weren’t any surprises.

Why planning life is a mistake

We’re all fond of planning life. It feels good and gives us a feeling that we’re somehow controlling and ensuring the wellness of our future. I’m okay with that.

Yet, I simply wish to mention that life loses its appeal when we create a blueprint or roadmap for it. It lacks the beautiful moments and combinations of nervousness and uncertainties.

There’s nothing extraordinary about outlining your life. You know what’s coming, and that’s normal. It can be boring.

But life isn’t supposed to be just normal. It can be beyond ordinary – exhilarating, exciting, surprising, and lovely. That only happens when we don’t know what’s going to happen next.

Every well-planned life is ordinary

The same.

People think they’re smart, while they only limit the possibilities. They kill the chances of an alternative life. What remains after that is an okay life.

You can figure out where you’ll go to college, the job you’ll get, the person you’ll marry, the car you’ll buy, and the year you’ll retire. Soon, you’ll have lived a life you planned, and you’ll die.

Still, you’d find that you missed something, and you won’t know what it was. It’ll be like you had a chance to taste magic, but didn’t – because you had planed too much.

You choose the roads that you want and reject the ones that life had selected for you.

Why a planned life isn’t great

A planned life is obvious.

It’s like already knowing what Santa will bring for Christmas, reading the plot before watching a movie, finding out who’ll win before watching a game or fathoming a magic trick even before watching it.

You know what’s going to happen, so you observe everything with dull eyes. You lack that enthusiasm and childlike curiosity which fills life with meaning.

Although we aren’t used to believing it, there’s something stunning about suspense and change. Especially, in life. Not knowing what’s going to happen next could be a good thing.

Planning life: yes or no?

Plan your life, because you’d be directionless without some pointers. But don’t make it so congested with your choices that there’s no gap left for anything new.

Let there be enough space to breathe, and welcome the unexpected. It’s alright to feel baffled at different stages.

In the end, you don’t need a map or plan to live – you need courage. Courage mixed with a bit of zeal can inspire you to create a memorable life you wish for.

Here’s a tip: Stop believing that anything except your wishes isn’t worthy. Once in a while, be a spectator and let life happen and see how it goes. It could be wonderful.


Sandhya says:

Sorry for multiple comments, Vishal. I got your name incorrect. Apologies again.

I appreciate your kind words, Sandhya. I’m glad you found this blog.

As for the comment, no worries, you can write a new one if needed and I’d delete the previous one.

Sandhya says:

Thank you. Please delete all my previous comments. I will submit a new one.

Sandhya says:

Hi Vivrek,

Stumbled on your blog a while ago. I have begun to read your posts. They are filled with wisdom. I just read the above post. The line that resonated with me is “You choose the roads that you want and reject the ones that life had selected for you.”. Coincidentally, few minutes before I read the post I was reflecting on few past experiences and was thinking how I was trying to be in control of life, planned ahead , while I should be allowing life to teach me new things or lead the way and come out of my comfort zone. And then I read your post. Amazing coincidence!

Will read more posts soon.

Keep up the good work, friend. Your blog might be brightening someone’s life every day, like it did for me today 🙂

Daniel says:

Thanks for this article.
More you plan, more you are unhappy.

Planning suggests that the present life is not enough. You are not happy, you’ll be just once you got those goals.

An illusory path that keeps you on the road of your of goals, but you are a slave of goals so your ego.

This doesn’t mean that we have to stop planning but just to plan the necessary.

Hey Daniel, you got it spot on!

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