You must have heard about planning ahead especially if you went to a business school. We were always taught how to plan at a very early age. Growing up, it turned into planning at what age you’ll get a degree, at what age you’ll get a job and at what age you’ll get married and have kids. Too much planning can make you anxious. It is when you’ve set too many benchmarks for yourself that you end up becoming a perfectionist which is a personality trait that comes with a lot of anxiety. I’m not saying planning is bad and that we shouldn’t plan at all but I believe that going with the flow can make you a happier person. Today, we’re surrounded by so much uncertainty that we can’t even imagine what could happen next. Is it good to plan in a world filled with so much uncertainty? I speak from experience when I say it isn’t. I used to be a perfectionist. I had planned that by the age of 22, I will start my Masters at one of the Universities in the UK that I always wanted to get into. I did get admitted into that same university and I was extremely excited to go and study what I always wanted to, Innovation and Technology Management. But I fell sick like I never did before. I was devastated because my biggest dream was shattered. When I asked to defer it for a year it couldn’t be managed and hence I had to let it go. I also had to choose a university that was more reasonable in terms of its tuition fee and living costs which is why I never reapplied to the same university again. I chose to live with my family so that I’m not alone and that there are people around me to look after me.
I’m not the same person anymore. I stopped planning ahead altogether. Although I still plan daily chores because even if they don’t go as planned for some reason, they’re not really a cause of anxiety or stress. But I find myself enjoying sudden plans more than pre planned hangouts. I have learned to embrace change and not just that, I have learned to look beyond imperfections. I am happier and calmer. I have let go of all that I had planned, related to my job, my higher education and my marriage. I’ve learned the meaning of ‘It was meant to happen’ and that ‘It’s all written by the Greatest of Writers’.
I read this quote a few days ago and it is one of my favourites. It completely summarizes the uselessness of the regrets from the past and the anxieties related to the future and also how living in the moment is the best way to become calmer and happier. This is a quote by Karen Maezen Miller, “Your life is your practice. Your spiritual practice does not occur someplace other than in your life right now, and your life is nowhere other than where you are. You are looking for answers, insight, and wisdom that you already possess. Live the life in front of you, be the life you are, and see what you find out for yourself.” What I gathered from this quote was that your past and your future are abstracts and the present is the reality that we should completely indulge ourselves into.
Although I’m not really a pro at it yet, but I always try to live in the moment. I still need a lot of practice but I’m getting there. Some of the benefits of living in the moment that I know are:
- You get to enjoy everyday to the fullest which means you’ll have no regrets about not being able to enjoy every little moment in your life because of anxieties related to the future or past regrets.
- It’s good for your mental health. Studies show that when you involve yourself fully into a task, your brain activity increases, hence improving it’s health.
- It makes you happier. The biggest cause of sadness isn’t the incident itself that takes place, but our minds that shows us the negative side and hence making us depressed or anxious. When you’re fully in the present moment, your mind is too occupied to let negative thoughts come in.
- The quality of relationships improve. Imagine yourself talking to someone and they’re not paying attention because they’re in another world. It becomes hard to communicate that way. When you’re living in the moment, you find it easier to connect to people.
Things don’t always go as they are planned. If you’re planning, make yourself emotionally strong enough to accept something that didn’t go your way and learn to go with the flow. Learn that it’s okay to fail sometimes and that your life doesn’t have to be perfect.