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, marrying your soulmate, having 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, with every grain of sand through the hourglass. We exist only in the moment, and we should appreciate and work with what we have in that moment, not waste it fantasizing about the future or regretting 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 wishing for certainties are better prepared to adjust and keep moving forward than someone who has invested all their energy and dreams into a single course, which 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 your goals and tying your happiness to it, you lose the awareness to be happy in the moment.

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.

Food for thought…

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