Planned Unhappiness

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Life is What Happens To You While You’re Busy Making Other Plans”,
John Lennon

There is a fine distinction between having a plan for your life (a desire) and planning your life in terms of contingencies and alternatives (prudence). Having a plan to be happy, get married to your soulmate, have 2.4 kids, the perfect home in the suburbs, etc. is a plan for heartbreak and failure. Life does not take into account our plans for happiness and we should not either by making such.

Life is what is happening in every ticking moment, every drop of sand in the hourglass. It is ourselves in time, and we should appreciate and work with what we have in this moment, not wish for what we don’t in the future or regret our decisions of the past.

Planning for possibilities allows us to better weather the storm of uncertainty that is life, but even then we are likely to be thrown a curve by unplanned events. However, those who have planned for possibilities instead of certainties are better prepared to adjust and keep moving forward than someone who has invested all their energy and dreams into a single course, who when it does not go as planned have no capacity to recover.

Likewise, planning for happiness is also planning to fail. Happiness is not a destination, but rather highlights along the journey. By focusing only on the goal and tying your happiness to it, you lose the awareness to be happy due to successes and events along the way.

There will always be ups and downs on life’s journey. Be open to recognizing the opportunities to be happy along the way, and realize that the hardships are only temporary as everyone’s journey ends the same.