Planning a Life
The Greek philosopher Socrates said “the unexamined life is not worth living”. Aristotle said that the unplanned life was not very productive. If a life does not have some kind of plan or purpose, the individual living it will not know what he’s doing or why and will not know where he’s going or how to get there. Other great thinkers have said pretty much the same thing that we do need to think about our futures.
If we fail to plan, life becomes pretty much a jumble and a sea of confusion. A good share of people live day by day, concentrating on the pleasure of the moment, caring little for the effort that a distant goal demands. The natural tendency of a human being is to be self-interested, but most people don’t pursue their own best interest. An unexamined or unplanned life will follow illusions, momentary desires and mutually conflicting wants. We can be swayed by whim rather than purpose and seek pleasure rather than perfection. We can be too influenced by the world around us and can choose short term gratification rather than long term fulfillment.
More often than not, we find that moral errors are the consequences of shortcuts – attempts to get results in the wrong way. No result of any importance can be achieved in an instant.
The younger the individual is, the more likely it is that they will not have a plan for living. To the young the more immediate goals are the most important – things to do, things to get, things to be enjoyed today.
As we age, we should be more likely to search for a purpose for living. We know we cannot do it all at once, and we learn to be flexible in changing conditions to fit our most important goals.
Life offers many opportunities to choose and every choice we make has consequences. We learn that not every plan is the right one and that wrong ones, if adopted, will lead to an unhappy and unfulfilled life. We all want happy consequences and all want to succeed. But let us not forget that success is not the result of a single achievement. There will always be new choices to make and new consequences to consider. Success is always possible but never final. It must constantly be renewed. Usually that which can be gotten quickly can also be lost quickly.
Perhaps the greatest paradox in developing a life plan is that we never really gain control over our mind and will not until we ultimately surrender ourselves to something greater than ourselves. The beginning of true self-control comes in giving ourselves to others. It is a lesson and a promise that have been taught by the masters for centuries – that only when we lose our lives for others will be find our own happiness and fulfillment. Planning for success in life always involves service to others.
Pastor Hans Lillejord