FOR MANY, IT’S A BORING SUBJECT. But the fact is planning is power. This is because planning is ninety percent decision-making. It allows us to predict beforetime a vast number of our decisions. And decisions are central—absolutely pivotal—to every form of self-enabled success in life.
Sun Tzu, The Art of War (6th Century B.C.E.), said:
“The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.”
That’s the importance of planning. It embodies potential and releases quality into the decision-making process. With power at our disposal—and everyone has power—we must exercise wisdom in executing our powers, otherwise we ‘fall short’ of where we need to be—Christians call this “sin.” Planning actually helps us to ‘hit the target’ we ordinary can reach.
Our previously couched decisions also pave the way for cognitive space, untold energies and wisdom.
Important Decision Making Junctures
- Time Ahead – none of us have time to waste. Planning decisions about the use of our time is so cogent for our effectiveness.
- Activities & Their Order – we all have a plethora of things to do and any number of ways to do them. What is going to influence this maze of information? A well considered plan or a scatty-at-best mishmash of positively intended though poorly thought-out acts? It’s a no-brainer when we consider it like that, “spontaneity” or not!
- Strategies – we all have problems to solve. These require much thought on the ways we must tackle them. Strategies at the tactical level define our wisdom; the very application of life.
- Contingencies – not many things—and plans too for that matter—turn out as we originally intended them. Things often go pear-shaped. So, we need to do our contingency planning. We have to prepare for failed expectations to limit our disappointment and ‘keep the show on the road.’ Contingency is continuity.
The greatest strength of planning is that it facilitates many decisions beforehand and frees up precious mental and emotional space otherwise invested in the most immediate present; that which we owe ourselves and others i.e. to be present; to be at our best.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.