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The-Plan-Joker

Plans are good in general. They make you organised and prepared. However, too much of anything is always bad for you. I’m talking, as you may have guessed from the title, about overplanning. I was born with a bad habit of overplanning, like it was wired into my brain; I guess it was mainly because I was a bit Atichyphobic and planning sort of fail-proofed things. However, overplanning also lead to many psychological problems, here are the few main ones that I’ve encountered over the course of my life: The high expectations you foresee which leads to eventual disappointment, the not everything goes to plan which leads to panic, and the plan that takes so long to plan which leads to nothing being accomplished.

You know how somethings sound really good and when it actually happens you just end up being disappointed? Well its several times worse when you overplan. I remember planning for a camp with my friends, and I was originally really hyped about the idea and kept thinking about. I looked at all the photos of the campsite, how and where to get there, how long the boat trip takes, every single meal down to the amount of food that would be needed, and basically every single step of the trip including the tiniest of the tiniest trivial details such as how many grains of sand the beach had (ok maybe not but you get what I mean). The night before the day I was tossing and turning in bed scrutinizing and reviewing over the plan that I had formed in my brain about every step of the trip. I ended up sleeping at 5 in the morning, only to wake up at 6 to rethink over any holes in my plan. So after that, we went camping and everything went as I had planned. Unfortunately, because everything went as it had in my head, I was rather disappointed at the lack of fun that I had. It felt like everything was expected; there was no element of uncertainty. It was only until some pondering in the aftermath that I realized because I had overplanned the trip, the trip turned out to be boring. Basically it all comes down to the basic principles of life where disappointment is equal to expectations over reality. So by overplanning, you are basically heightening your expectations such that the reality is so close to your expected outcome that it turns out to be very ordinary, even mundane.  they aren’t (most of the time). To give a better example, its like how a movie or book wouldn’t be very enjoyable if you already read the plot summary on Wikipedia beforehand.

The problems with overplanning also occured when I had conversations with people. I remember I used to map out how a whole conversation would go, almost like writing a script for a play for myself and my future conversation partner. This resulted in a monotonous conversation and whenever they said something unexpected that wasn’t part of the imaginary script I had thought up just seconds before my approach, I panicked, or at least violently stuttered. On the  other hand, when I didn’t have a plan when talking to someone, it was much more stimulating and the conversation lasted much longer. Turns out, letting a conversation flow naturally and talking in, and not ahead of the flow of a conversation would make it last much longer (and make for less awkward silences)

Lastly, spending too much time overplanning and thus missing out on what you actually planned to do is the biggest problem for me. I can’t count the amount of times that I’ve overplanned how I would revise for an upcoming test that by the time I actually finished pondering on how I would most efficiently study there would me no time to execute my masterfully crafted plan, and ended up doing nothing. In turn, I found it much better on occasions when I just jumped straight to studying. There won’t be a ridiculous plan on how long I would study for one topic or how many questions I would do or how many pages of the book I would read or all the other seemingly important details which don’t actually matter at all.

Obviously there are exceptions such as designing a car which you would probably be screwed a thousand times if you didn’t have a plan, but you know what I generally mean.

Man surprised me most about humanity.Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived. -Dalai Lama XIV

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