Want to succeed in this life? Plan!

by Victor Udoh

All great achievements have been characterized by extreme care, infinite painstaking, even to the minutest detail
-Elbert Hubbard

Failing to plan is the single reason why many people and businesses fail in this life. Benjamin Franklin succinctly put it, ‘failing to plan is planning to fail.’ The truth about planning is that, it is the most difficult part of succeeding in any endeavour which is why only great achievers dare to go the extra mile to plan.

The importance of planning can never be over-emphasized in any dealing. Planning helps you to put in proper perspective your major definite purpose. Once you have identified what your purpose in this life is, planning takes it up from there and gives it a beginning, a middle and an end position with clear and specific deadlines. It does not mean that at every point in time things must work out exactly according to the plan but suffice to say that it would not have happened at all after all without the plan.

How very easily you see people set out to execute a project without any form of planning. They simply think about the project, fantasize about their success without taking into consideration the tiny little bits of information that could be fatal to ignore. The fact is, more time and attention should be given to planning than to execution because planning naturally takes execution into serious consideration. This is what great achievers do. They go the extra mile; take the pain of going over and over every detail in the blue print to ensure they are in order before setting out.

Planning for the great achievers may take almost forever only for the execution to be undertaken in a few minutes, hours or days. Ask the ace athlete. They put in hours, days, months and even years of training only to run a 100m race in under 9 seconds. I have come to realize that the amount of time you spend to plan for an event saves you twice as much time during execution. It frees up time for you to be able to engage other activities.

Planning is a skill that you can learn as with every other skill. Planning if learned will make you an effective and influential person in your society; due to your exemplary orderliness. It normally raises self- confidence, boost morale and gives courage. Haven’t you noticed that you go into any activity you plan or prepare for with the conviction that you are going to succeed? On the other hand, lack of preparation, which comes as a result of lack of planning, puts pressure on you and makes you feel uncomfortable. It creates doubt about your ability to succeed at the task you set out to accomplish, and as such because your thought has a direct bearing on your result; you fail at that which you set out to accomplish.

It is not that people do not plan at all but rather many people unfortunately spend more time planning for activities that will be of the least or no benefit at all to them. You may very easily see people planning with all seriousness and zest for a party or other social activities but will give very little or no attention to planning for how they want their lives’ path to be charted. Such social activities are most of the time given many months of planning and preparation with every tiny little detail taken into consideration. Nothing is normally left out. Many times such people even spend outrageous amounts of money on unnecessary acquisitions to aid their planning for such occasions. Ask such people to sit and tell you what they want their lives to be like or the plans they have for their lives for just ten minutes and you’ll be surprised. They won’t be able to say anything reasonable. They normally cannot put their money into especially information materials like books and tapes that can go along way in shaping their lives.

Success, it has been repeatedly said by most successful people, does not come by accident but through a life spent executing a well prepared plan. It is so very true that you can achieve anything you want in life if you will just commit it to careful planning. Every great success by all of the world’s great achievers was actually as a result of committing their dreams and visions to proper planning.

You can not, however, start your planning until you know where you are heading to, and of course, before then, where you are coming from. This is the first major step that most people miss out on. When this happens, you will find out that every other step in between will be wrong. You will often hear people say they had to stop and re- trace their steps. What they are trying to say here is that had to go back to the very beginning and start the planning they never did or got wrong from the start. Even the Holy Bible in the book of Jeremiah talks about a return to the beginning when in Jeremiah 6: 16 it said, “… stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths …’ These ancient paths were that which pleased God and so most definitely the right paths to step on.

Often you will find people try to match other people in the area of acquisition of property. They buy certain things just because they see their neighbour has acquired it without the knowledge of the planning that person had put in place first before buying that property. Successful people plan their every expenditure whereas under- achiever fall prey to what Brian Tracy refer to as Parkinson’s Law which says that expenses rise to meet income. Financially successful people violate Parkinson’s Law by always planning their expenditure most time by delayed purchasing. This is financial planning of the highest quality.

No success story was ever written without a planning embedded in it. Nothing in fact was ever achieved without a plan. Even failure is borne out of a plan – a plan not to succeed. Planning brings about stability. That is, no undue one- sided pressure. It enhances focus, brings about preparedness, makes coordination very easy and above all gives self- confidence. People that plan have a good sense of direction and are highly goal oriented.

Planning can be adapted in many instances and circumstances and the lack of it will almost always bring a result that is undesirable. Great achievers always have their own plan. People with a plan always attract those who don’t have plans of their own. Many people do not live according to any plan of theirs and so at every point in time in their live, they are working with someone else’s plan.

What would you do if you woke up tomorrow and you future was presented to you? Would you be happy with what you will see if you are told that it was as a result of your plans presently? Most people still do not know the importance of planning. Let me make it very clear here: whenever you plan, you take your own future, bring it into your present, shape it and send it back to the future to wait for you. When you do not plan, you care less about you very own future. Now based on all that you are doing today, would you enjoy the future you are preparing? The core of the message here is: to achieve great things, do not embark on any project from now on without a plan.

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