Without a doubt, I am what you would call ‘a planner’. I love a good plan and I’m constantly master-minding and scheming. But sooner or later, you realise that there are some things you cannot control and so sometimes, you have to learn to let go.
I do not like not having a plan. Whilst I’m not exactly the finest example of someone who has their life in perfect order, I like to at least vaguely know what I’m working towards, both long-term and short-term. In an ideal world, it’d be ace to look into a crystal ball and have it kindly confirm to me that my future will include the following: great career, pretty home, a french bulldog, some travel, a nice husband, children and most importantly a happy life.
But as we all know, life doesn’t quite work like that. You can plan things down to the finest detail…and life will still find a way to pull the rug from under your feet. There are just some things you don’t see coming and some things that you can never plan for.
For years now, I have been happily ploughing all my energy into trying to control things that I absolutely have no control over. AKA wasting a heck of a lot of time. I’ve tried to plan and control and micro-manage – I could have a degree in Master Planning! Unfortunately though, I’ve realised that life often has other ideas in store for me and I’m having to learn to let go of my tightly locked plans and safety nets.
So what is the balance between making things happen and letting things happen?
I suppose it all comes down to living somewhere between accepting the things we can and can’t control. I absolutely believe we can control our own destinies, after all, we can change our life in a heartbeat if we choose to. But most of us prefer to stay on the ‘better the devil you know than the devil you don’t’ path. We hear people whining about their lives constantly as if they can’t change them – yet there are always changes to be made, even if only small ones to start with.
We can also control how we react to things and situations, we can control our behaviour and our responses even if we can’t control what’s happening to us at the time.
But what we can’t control are other people, their actions and their behaviours. We can’t control things like the weather, natural disasters, accidents, the economy, the job market, growing old, death…you see where I’m going with this. We can control elements of our participation in the future…but ultimately, the future cannot be controlled. And I’ve finally realised I’m bored of trying to mico-manage mine.
Because technically you could plan something to the nth degree, but something totally out of your control could smite you and your plans down. What does a Master Planner do then??
So perhaps, it’s not about a master plan, but learning how to react and deal with things in the best way possible, with grace and positivity, and learning to let go of things beyond your control.
They say life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. So maybe this is the part to focus on. We can’t safeguard our lives from failure, disappointments and sadness. But we can master our thoughts and get ourselves into a position where we can (try) to cope with anything life throws at us.
So, I’ve stepped down from my career in Master Planning. Instead, I’m trying to master the art of going with the flow a bit more. Obviously, we all have to forge a way forward and make stuff happen (things aren’t going to just tumble into my lap or yours) but there is a huge sense of peace that comes with letting go of the things that aren’t meant for you.
If you’re exhausted with the path you’re trudging down, or banging your head against a brick wall with something or someone, or a situation is making you miserable, then instead of trying to control it because you don’t want to give in, the best thing you can actually do is let go.
Let it all go and see what comes back to you. Stop trying to control things you can’t, and focus on the things you can.
I think it’s worth looking back at things in the past that you got upset over, perhaps a job you really wanted but didn’t get, or an opportunity that didn’t work out, or an old regret. As time unfolds and you find yourself months or years down the line, it tends to be the case that there was a reason things didn’t happen as you wanted them to, and you’re actually glad they didn’t.
So, here’s to finding the balance between what we know and what we don’t know, what we can and can’t control, and surrendering a little to the uncomfortable unknown. And here’s to letting go of the things not meant for us.
Because you might not get what you want – but you might get something better.
Shop The Post