Planning, organizing, arranging—-these are all synonyms. It all basically means having our life together for at least even one moment. Or at least that’s what it feels like. We schedule our futures because we know with all the funk that life loves to give, a little bit of control feels pretty damn great. However, the thing about planning is the inevitable chance of running into change. That illusion of having it all set may crash down with one detail, and suddenly starting over feels super hard and horribly frustrating.
Now, I’m definitely not saying don’t plan at all. I’ll be a hypocrite because literally scheduling my academics is pretty much how my life is able to function at all. It’s saved my butt more times than I can count. Even though we know we can’t plan every single thing, we still like to try. The problem with this isn’t the actual planning, but the close-minded view we may have because of it.
I’ll admit, I don’t like change and I’m sure plenty of people don’t either but we have to remember, that’s the one thing we can count on happening for the rest of our lives. So we have to learn to be at least a little adaptable. With all the crashing and burning I’ve done in my past, I’ve learned there are three things that can help in not only making one a better planner, but also a better adapter.
As corny as it may be, having a positive mindset really does help a lot. Growing up, I came into most situations with a negative attitude, and honestly, that was mostly the fear talking. I had (still probably do) this anxiety-ridden fear of failure, so when I was faced with something that was interrupting the specific image I had in my head, I would run. That was the thing about my past scheduling—if something was definitely not going according to plan, my first instinct would be to curl up and hide in a corner. I thought everything’s going wrong, so why try? It’s funny really, to have this deep fear of failure and thinking sticking to the pessimistic route would make anything better. Things really changed once I started college because I soon realized whether I liked it or not, I had to get things done, even if it literally ripped my schedule apart. I’m happy to say that I’ve survived so far. Think about it this way: If we know being negative won’t help, why not try positive for a change? If it doesn’t give you solutions, at least it encourages them and it definitely gives you fewer frown lines.
I really think who we surround ourselves with can determine so much in us. Humans are social creatures and whether we like to admit it or not, to fit in, sometimes we’ll become others around us. They influence us in ways we don’t even notice and that’s why it matters who we’re around. I can definitely say after meeting a very positive friend of mine during my freshman year, I began using a better outlook in my life. Before, it wasn’t odd to see me hunched down trying to stay invisible. Trying new things wasn’t exactly a priority, but then I learned better. My friend came in as a freshman ready to try literally everything and guess who she dragged with her the whole time? It ended up being the best thing because not only did she teach me to have a positive attitude, but that going out of my way to do something new wasn’t as scary as it used to be. It made me a little more daring and maybe that was the point. We can’t adapt unless we’re brave enough to do it.
- Let Go
Lastly, we have to know when to let go. I don’t mean our dreams or our futures, just that sometimes, things won’t go according to plan—and that’s okay. If you’re still stuck in the early 2000s like I am, you’ll know what I’m talking about but you know that saying in Firework? Katy Perry says this, “Maybe a reason why all the doors are closed; So you can open one that leads you to the perfect road.” Yes, I was that 10-year-old who liked corny stuff like that, and yes, I still am (unfortunately, not the age though). To this day, I can definitely still bang out to those lyrics happily. Ten years later, it’s still true for me so although planning is important. It’s important to know when to let go of something to have the chance to adapt. We can’t change if we don’t allow ourselves to and that kind of thinking can start with something as small as learning to be flexible; it makes us better planners. Think about the little things, like the small moments we know we will need in between things or that scheduling a break isn’t actually a horrible idea.
I still struggle every now and again with learning to not freak out the minute a plan is changed. I probably always will panic at least a little, but that’s not the point. It’s about what we do after. Maybe that’s the key to being a better planner—learning how to be a little spontaneous in order to adapt.