We’re often told that we need a detailed plan for our future. Best to have a series of them, actually: an eighteen-month plan, a five-year plan, a ten-year plan, etc.
This is good advice. Without goals, we tend to drift. But it’s easy to take planning too far, to fall madly in love with a very specific version of the future.
There are three problems with this:
- Sometimes, you change but the plan doesn’t. We’re always changing, a little bit every day. We can outgrow our plans without realizing it.
- Sometimes, the world changes around your plan. There’s a lot we can’t control, and the world is changing rapidly. Who knows what the automobile industry will look like in a decade? Or, for goodness sakes, the newspaper industry?
- A better opportunity might come along. If you’re obsessed with a single, perfect plan, you’re likely to miss other opportunities (even if they’re actually a better fit).
So plan, of course, but stay flexible.