The paradox of planning.
I was searching through file boxes the other day.
Hoping to find and shred irrelevant documents.
And I hit the jackpot!
They were filled with various plans.
Business, new product, financial, strategic.
Facts, figures and statistics.
Exhaustive detail and rock-solid projections.
Whose time had come and gone.
But here’s the interesting thing.
I never used any of them anyway.
My future never emerged from what I read or imagined.
Nor from what others told me.
It came from what I passionately felt.
By jumping, sensing and responding.
Like the pioneering Wright brothers.
Bicycle repair shop owners.
Who drew plans and built prototypes.
And flew the world's first successful airplane.
Planning is paradoxical.
It’s useful when it gets you excited.
Investing and moving into the unknown.
But it can also destroy possibility.
By miring you in alternative viewpoints.
By keeping you playing around in your head.
And to make matters worse.
Others will play with your head, too.
They’ll sense your confusion and apprehension.
And your desire for guidance, certainty and hope.
And they’ll add to your inertia.
With even more information.
Or they’ll pitch you with promises.
Ones that make you feel good about yourself.
Big ones that no one can logically make.
Or small ones that keep you comfortable.
Warren Buffett once said:
“You’re looking for three things, generally, in a person.
Intelligence, energy, and integrity.”
There’s plenty of intelligence in planning.
But no energy or integrity.
Those come from stepping into the unknown.
From daring greatly and following the lead of another aviation pioneer.
An English major and lawyer.
Southwest Airlines founder Herb Kelleher.
Who once remarked:
“We have a strategic plan.
It’s called doing things.”
P.S. So why is it that college dropouts, disenchanted employees, bike shop owners, and English majors are the ones who change the world? Are they the best prepared?