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Why your chaotic life is a good thing

Stop the planning; embrace the chaos!

We are all told that planning is the key to success. Plan your way in to a good career by getting good school grades, going to a good university, getting the best internship and graduate jobs. Or to even function day to day we must constantly plan our time according to kids if you have them, or exercise classes, or meeting up with friends. Even cooking! How many of us look up a recipe, go and buy the ingredients, get home and you’re ready to cook up a storm… but you forgot the garlic, or you over did the rice and you’ve not got anymore. It’s ruined!

The thing is, in real life, all this stuff never goes to plan. And what tends to happen when things don’t go the way we planned? Well, usually, we get pissed off. Blame ourselves or someone else. Try to work out why it didn’t go how we wanted it to. Feel rubbish for the rest of the day because it had an impact on other arrangements in the day, and you’re worried you’ll upset someone now things aren’t exactly as scheduled.

I’ve recently realised how ridiculous it is that we end up feeling this way. For the simple reason that like I just said, in real life, stuff never goes to plan! And if it does, we recognise and get excited and pleased with ourselves that we’ve done really well and kept things as they “should” be. Doesn’t this prove that it’s a rare occasion? And if it’s as rare as we know it is, then why do we berate ourselves even it doesn’t happen the way we want it to, which is, you know, always?

The thing is, life is complicated. But there is a certain beauty in that. How many of us really went through the normal, school, uni, grad job route? I mean, I’m 29, and while a few of my friends have, there are many more who haven’t. They’ve done seriously interesting and wonderful things instead. In the current job climate, the “normal plan” just isn’t a realistic option for most of us twenty-somethings. Most of us have had a series of crappy and awesome jobs, dispersed with a helluva lot of traveling. I count myself as one of these lucky individuals. Yep, lucky. We have had to fight for jobs we didn’t want, to earn money to do something that inspires much more than sitting at a desk or owning your own house can do. I’m not saying a steady job and house-ownership aren’t good things. But while we’re young (and when you’re not!), we need to appreciate that we learn much more when life throws us curve balls. That we learn who we are by how we react to all kinds of weird and wonderful situations.

When it comes down to day-to-day situations, we can’t help but be OCD planners too. We get sick, the train gets delayed, the car doesn’t start, we don’t get the job, our phone gets stolen. And suddenly, our day, even our week is ruined! But is it? If you’re sick, take a day and realise that your body is asking for some R&R – enjoy it! Train is delayed? More time to read your book or listen to your music – it’s not you’re fault the train is delayed, so why worry? Car doesn’t start? Call a colleague for a lift or walk and get a little exercise. Don’t get the job? Another better one is right around the corner, and you learnt from the experience anyway. Phone gets stolen? Wahoo! Time away from distracting social media and stupid Candy Crush, more § is all bad. It helps us in many ways. As a species, we wouldn’t be where we are today if not for careful and well executed planning. But that’s not to say if things “go wrong”, this isn’t for the best. Many of the best meals I’ve made are from recipes “gone wrong”. The best things that have happened in my life have come from situations where I felt like everything was “going wrong”. Some of the best days I can remember are when plans had to change and it felt like everything was “going wrong”.

But is it really “going wrong” if such amazing stuff comes out of a change of plan? I don’t think so. Maybe, then, we need to change our way of thinking when something “goes wrong”. Call it what you want – opportunity, a challenge, fate – just make sure you don’t think of it as a negative. Embrace whatever life throws at you,

You will never be able to anticipate everything life throws at you – the key is to find the best in whatever situation you find yourself, go with the flow, and simply, embrace it all.

What do you think?

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