One of the first things we are told when we are children is that we always need to have a plan. “The plan” is the safe mode of action to take; the more reserved yet conventional approach to managing the events of one’s life. “The plan” doesn’t have to be viewed as attaining the sought after American dream, it exists in one’s life as a series of events that we want to happen in a certain order and for a certain reason – to become great. University, grad school, the engagement, the wedding, the kids, the raise at work, and then the retirement some odd years later. This “plan” stems from a mixture of ambition and a deep desire to be the greatest version of ourselves. But how about if the pressure to be this amazing great self is actually getting in the way of us actually becoming great?
“The plan” was what governed all of my choices in life. From age ten I already knew what I wanted to do, the type of man I wanted to marry, the kind of house I wanted to live in, and what undergraduate, graduate, and law school I wanted to attend. I had (and still have) the potential to be great, but what I started realizing was that I was so stuck on creating this perfect plan that I had forgotten to live my day-to-day life and realize that I am already pretty great. When you are so immersed in trying to make every decision with a “what is going to happen in the next ten years” mindset, it is hard to enjoy the simple things that we should be paying attention to. These simple things are not “great” to us in the moment and thus, should be overlooked as our gaze is locked on whatever our grand prize is considered to be.
This can all be extremely overwhelming. Seeing this amazing end goal of the desired career field, driving a nice vehicle, or laying on a beach somewhere may conflict with the reality of you currently being a broke college student. This tension that is generated between the two ends of this “spectrum of greatness” can put a lot of self-inflicted anxiety on you as a human being who is still in the process of growing. You will overthink absolutely everything to make sure that everything is going according to plan if you make x or y decisions. So, let’s not fall into this pattern because it is not healthy for our hearts or our minds. Just remember that when you wake up in the morning, you gain another opportunity to be the best version of your great self.
Do not dwell on these decisions of the past, and do not think that I am advocating for you to not have a plan entirely. More simply, just enjoy each day, and do not get so fixated on the end goal of greatness that you are not enjoying the things that may not seem as great. Sometimes “the plan” changes, and that is okay. Someone’s plan may have included going to law school, and now they are a very successful fashion designer because they took a chance. That is what life is about, isn’t it? Putting ourselves out there, bringing our passions to the surface and figuring out what we enjoy in life. And in doing all of this, we will ultimately realize that we were great all along.