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    99. The myth of the 5-year plan

    enJune 16, 2023

    About this Episode

    In our 20s we can often feel like we have to have a plan for our lives or a 5 year vision for where we want to be. This can cause us to be boxed in and blind to the surprises opportunities that life throws our way. The idea of a 5 year plan is a myth and in today's episode, we are going to break down why. From societal conventions of a 'good' life, the butterfly effect, the psychology behind impulsive decisions and goal setting and the need for a sense of control over the chaos of our 20s, we explore all that and more to uncover why your school counsellor was wrong and you DON'T need a five year plan for your life. Listen now. 

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    ūüĒĎ Key Takeaways

    • Instead of rigidly planning our lives, we should make space for flexibility, explore our desires, and allow room for unexpected life-changing moments that bring new definitions of success and happiness.
    • Don't let a plan become a rigid blueprint for your life; use it as a flexible map to guide you towards your aspirations while embracing growth and change along the way.
    • Embrace change and growth, and release the pressure of societal expectations. Embrace uncertainty and give yourself permission to revise goals. Life is full of surprises, so celebrate the freedom to change your mind.
    • Embrace unexpected opportunities, listen to intuition, and be willing to try new things. Every small event can guide us onto a new path. Trust the butterfly effect to take us where we need to go.
    • Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals to prevent delusional thinking and ensure they align with your true desires. Focus on your wants, not just society's expectations, and embrace life's twists and turns.
    • Rather than cling to rigid plans, find a balance between direction and openness to new goals, so that you remain responsive to change and your own evolving sense of happiness.
    • Visualize the feeling of happiness rather than focusing solely on material accomplishments. Be open to different paths and leave room for surprises. Trust in your ability to adapt and navigate uncertainties as change is inevitable in life.

    ūüďĚ Podcast Summary

    Why the idea of a five-year plan in your 20s is a myth

    The idea of having a five-year plan in your 20s is a myth. Our 20s are for mistakes, discovery, and impulsive decisions. Planning restricts our outlook, creates emotional unrealistic goals, and can lead to dissatisfaction based on societal 'shoulds.' Life is full of uncertainty and change, and we need to allow ourselves room to be flexible, explore what we desire, and find alternative life paths. The butterfly effect and psychological explanation for impulsive decisions are just a few reasons why the five-year plan is a myth. Instead of a rigid plan, we should focus on smart goals and make space for the unexpected life-changing moments that bring new definitions of success and happiness.

    The Benefits and Pitfalls of Creating a Five-Year Plan

    Creating a five-year plan can be helpful in providing a sense of direction and motivation in achieving our goals, but it is important to be flexible and open to change. While planning activities are evidence-based tools for increasing focus and motivation, we should not get too caught up in the idea of having our lives mapped out. Instead, we should embrace the uncertainty and the potential for growth and change that life presents. A plan is not a rigid ladder to success, but a flexible map to guide us towards our aspirations. Ultimately, the key takeaway is to strike a balance between having a plan and being adaptable, to live a fulfilling and happy life.

    Why Letting Go of the Five-Year Plan is the Way Forward

    Planning for the future is an outdated concept imposed by traditional views and expectations. We should embrace growth and change instead of fixating on milestones and imaginary deadlines. Our desires and goals often come from external influences rather than our own internal desires. Society still enforces a subtle type of soft power, telling us what we should be doing and what we're doing wrong. We should celebrate being able to change our minds and let life surprise us. The beauty of our 20s is that we get to change and try new things without pressure. What we thought we wanted at a young age will most likely change and that's okay. Let go of the five-year plan idea and embrace the uncertainty of life.

    Embracing unpredictability: Why minor actions can have major consequences

    Minor actions or decisions can have profound and unanticipated effects. A five-year plan can limit our ability to embrace novelty, spontaneity, and change. Human beings have an innate need for novelty and doing things that are different and new. Long-term goal setting can result in unrealistic and superficial goals. Sometimes, ignoring the urge or the inspiration for the sake of some arbitrary goal or plan may actually be the worst choice of your life. Therefore, we should embrace unexpected opportunities, listen to our intuition, and be willing to try new things. It is important to understand that even the smallest events can be life-changing and guide us onto a new path. We need to accept that life is unpredictable and trust the butterfly effect to take us where we need to go.

    The Importance of Setting SMART Goals in Your 20s

    When making plans for our lives, it is important to set SMART goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. However, in our 20s, we often engage in delusional fantasy and emotional thinking, leading us to create hard goals that are heartfelt, animated, required, and difficult. While both types of goals are important, setting SMART goals helps to prevent delusional thinking and ensure that our goals are realistic and manageable. It's also important to focus on our wants, not just the shoulds of society, and embrace the twists and turns of life. By doing so, we can lead a more flexible and fulfilling life that aligns with our true desires.

    The Fall of the Five-Year Plan

    Traditional notions of a five-year plan are being rejected by younger generations due to exposure to economic instability, a desire for exploration and meaningful experiences. While some people naturally thrive within structure and planning, it's important to constantly revise and reflect on what will make you happy. A blueprint for the future can provide a sense of security, but it's ultimately a fantasy as things can change. It's important to find a balance between having direction and being open to new goals and ideas, so that we don't box ourselves into one idea of happiness and the future that leaves us unresponsive to change.

    The Limitations of a Five-Year Plan and Embracing Change

    Having a five-year plan can be more restrictive and limiting than allowing yourself room for mistakes and embracing change. Rather than focusing solely on material accomplishments, visualize how you want to feel in the future and strive for that happiness. Leaving room for surprises and being open to different paths can lead to greater growth and fulfillment. While it may be helpful for certain professions, a rigid checklist of goals may not be suitable for everyone's unique journey. Remember that change is inevitable and adapting to uncertainty is a natural part of life. Embrace the unknown and trust in your ability to navigate whatever comes your way.

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