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seventeen123's avatar

Is it a good thing or a bad thing to try & look to the future & plan ahead?

Asked by seventeen123 (428 points ) September 19th, 2009

You should always be prepared for things, and you should always have hopes, goals and dreams. However, in these things how do you live each day to the fullest if you’re looking ahead? What do you guys think?

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11 Answers

deni's avatar

You have to plan some things, but I like this quote by Chris McCandless – “but in reality, there is nothing more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future”. true.

wildflower's avatar

You should definitely look and plan ahead! The key is to keep doing it, not just a one-off and get stuck on that one plan, but regularly revisit your wants, needs, hopes, ambitions and goals – because they change, just like everything else.

majorrich's avatar

Before I retired, looking to the future and planning ahead usually ended with a humiliating crucifixion at staff meetings. Of course that was 8 years ago in telecommunications when I wanted to run fiber between the buildings on the college campus I worked at. Nyaa Nyaa Nyaa I was right, They were wrong. But my bosses got pilloried after I left.

shego's avatar

I try to plan my future, but I also know that unexpected things happen. So I do go for my goals, and I try to always be prepared, but like I said, stuff happens.

YARNLADY's avatar

I try to do a little of both. Since I have survived two very unexpected and unpleasant losses over time, I have given up actually expecting life to unfold as I want, but planning is necessary for my goals.

laureth's avatar

If I don’t plan enough of my future, I find that I worry too much about it in the present to live fully. Once I have my ducks in a row, I relax, and enjoy the Now.

Of course, letting future chips fall where they may is a good way to make sure that you don’t enjoy the future Now, too.

marinelife's avatar

Living in the present is the best way to enjoy life, but that does not mean that you can’t plan.

What you don’t want to do is focus all your hopes and dreams on the future. “As soon as I make my first million, (or lose 30 pounds or get married or whatever), I know I will be happy.

valdasta's avatar

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

ShanEnri's avatar

I think looking is a good thing, but be prepared for the simple fact that nothing comes out the way we plan it!

wundayatta's avatar

I have sometimes wondered this, myself. I know, as a spiritual practice, there is a benefit to “living in the moment.” I also know that as a practical matter, there can be benefit to planning for the future, and trying to make things you want happen. So the question becomes, “are the two incompatible?”

I think the issue really is about attachment. We can make plans, and still be living in the moment. However, if we get attached to those plans, and feel our lives are unsuccessful if those plans don’t come out the way we thought they would, then I think we are no longer living in the moment.

Plans are helpful, and it is helpful to think about the future. Thinking about the future doesn’t mean we have left the moment, if, in the moment, thinking about the future is something we are doing fully. Once we lose touch with the moment and become consumed with the future, then it can become a bad thing to plan. We live in our plans, and have no idea what is really happening. We stop paying attention to anything other than our fantasies.

Living in the moment is also about involvement. Are you fully invested in whatever it is you are doing, or are you distracted? Are you paying attention?

If you are doing several things at once, it is almost impossible to be in the moment. Your attention is too diffuse. One can plan using one’s entire attention, and that would be living in the moment and planning at the same time. One can play and stop paying attention to the planning and start being distracted by all kinds of other thoughts, some of which may have nothing to do with anything. That, I think, is leaving the moment.

You can want to be somewhere else as long as you pay attention to where you are. As soon as the wanting takes over from your attention, you start missing life. You start living in your head. Your imagination takes over. You lose touch with reality.

If you pay attention to where you are even as you plan to be somewhere else, then I think you have straddled the two. They are not mutually exclusive. It just depends how you do them.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Fact from fiction, truth from diction. That is the rub, it is sort of a catch 22 if you don’t plan for the future your future might be less fun if you happen to find yourself making it to it. On the other hand no one is guaranteed a tomorrow, you can plan all your life around being a doctor, physicist, elite athlete etc and some event happens that injures you to the point that goal is nullified if it doesn’t take your life also. So then you slaved all those hours training or studying for a field you never got to do. Time that could have been used to enjoy life if you had a way of knowing that drunk was going to take you out a week from next Tuesday etc. It ends up a gamble, you gamble on the side that you will make it to the future so you plan ahead and hope you are right.

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