Written by 5:49 am Growth Mindset

Life Plans Never Work As Intended

When I was a child, my father kept complaining to me about why I never planned what I was going to do.  He might grumble to me about that problem a whole day long. In that way, the word Planning rubbed off on me somehow…


My father is now a retired university instructor. Thanks to his talent, students still find a way to see and learn with him. Yeah, my father is a talented person. When I was a child, I used to think that my father was not human, he was like superman. He almost always worked more than 12 hours a day. I usually saw him working with his computer every time I saw him. He typed something, calculated something, and drew something I couldn’t figure out what they were. He seemed to know everything about Electricity, Electronics, Mechanics, Physics, and Chemistry. I was the opposite. I can’t stand those things up to now.

I still remember every time I came to him and asked him for help with my physic homework, it brought me tremendous fear immediately. He used what sort of language I couldn’t understand and had no way to absorb. Anyway, it was not a terrible thing. For him,  the most terrible thing on earth is that things are not well organized and planned. When it comes to any sort of thing, plans are his top priority. Things should be done step by step and everything must be in his plans. Things out of his plans or any unplanned stuff will never be welcomed. Things coming after have to be postponed till they are included in his later plans.

I sometimes asked my mother about my father –  “Why does he always plan things like that? I find it not much necessary to plan everything in life because life is unexpected. Sometimes, unexpected things come up and we have to learn to deal with them instead of asking for a plan.” However, I did not have the answer to my question until I joined the working world. And surprisingly, I instinctively followed in his footsteps.

I spent the first 8 years of my career planning things. I planned everything whenever I was in charge of them. I wanted to make things perfect for me. Yes, perfection did allure me completely. Can you guess what I got in return?

  • I still completed every single journey of mine, but not with 100% satisfaction.
  • I failed sometimes and my plan turned around at the last minute.
  • I got frustrated and disappointed easily and uncontrollably

and I was in the flow of planning, planning, and planning!


One day I was told that Life was an equation which was included constants and variables. My job was to develop the constants and well foresee how the variables changed. It was not an easy job. At first, I didn’t get it because my math scores at school were just average and I needed to admit that I was not good at math at all.

Anyway, I kept what I was told and put it there – somewhere in my mind and I would get back to it when I understood its meaning.  Afterward, I started observing things surrounding me and clumsily analyzing them. Gradually, I got drawn into a new world – The World of Life Designers.

It was time I switched my old-fashioned thinking habit to a more innovative one. With the new habit, I am well aware of:

1. Every single objective is just a hot spot along my work and life journey, not a destination.

2. What I have got at different stages of my life is the resources I can play with.

3. Who I can connect and engage with to make my journey more and more dynamic and meaningful to me.

4. What could be the trade-off when I navigate my lifeboat to a new spot along my journey?

As I mentioned before, Life is an equation that included constants and variables. To make it clearer for you, constants here indicate one’s competence; and variables refer to one’s current opportunities, experiences, and social network. It is not a stretch to say life is an abstract painting that can open to multiple interpretations. Therefore, my main duties are to strengthen my competence over time. Once I possess a strong competence, variables will never be a too big problem for me. On the contrary, the variables might be good catalysts to make my journey more and more memorable.

People think they need to devise a plan for their lives, but I am completely the opposite!


Many friends of mine are wondering how I can design my next steps and choose the way forward every day since they can recognize the freedom of my soul as well as my carefree status quo.

In fact, 3 ultimate keys contributing to Life Designing Process are:

  1. Utilizing all resources you have got at the current time
  2. Prototyping what you are thinking
  3. Keeping yourself surrounding 3 groups of people

Step 1: First of all, you should define and realize your available resources which might be your Time Budget, Money, Knowledge, Skills, and Proximity to your designed results.

Step 2: From all materials you own in your hand, it’s time to weave your amazing moments. Design your way forward step by step. Don’t forget that each action to take should fit into your Life View and Work View and remember to make good use of the materials you’ve got.

Step 3: Enjoy your journey as a scientist, which means you welcome everything happening along the way. They can be expected as well as unexpected results. Then you can fix and re-design if needed. Life trials and errors are worth taking and appreciating. If you find them enjoyable, congratulations – you have immersed yourself in Prototyping.

Step 4: Finally, you are supposed to keep yourself surrounded by 3 groups of people such as Supporters (people come in all flavors and ages. They are just go-to people that you can rely on. They are close enough to you so that their encouragement can keep you going), Players (people actually do things with you. They are active participants in your life design projects) and Mentors (people are trying to help you with counsel and advice. They can help you figure out what you are thinking and also tell you what they think). When you can collect these 3, you can design your life in collaboration with them.

Besides the Dos, there are still “Traps” you need to deal with. And these “Traps” will hold you back and never unleash your potential or let your step out of your comfort zone.

1. You know too much about what you are doing and the antecedents tell you that things never change if you insist on doing them.

Don’t trust 100% the antecedents until you really do it by yourself. Remember to participate 200%, not touching things on the surface.

2. You require accurate results despite too many variables that you cannot control on the way.

Don’t force everything to generate accurate results after the first try. Things take time to grow, all life experiences take time to be deeply felt and contemplated. If the results are not what you expected, continue adjusting your designed steps until you get the correct ones. Do not forget to do it in collaboration with the resources and people you have.

3. You do not trust your “Players” enough or You trust the wrong “Players”.

Don’t be too skeptical or easy when dealing with people, especially your Players. They need time to test themselves, and how much they fit into your life design projects and so do you. Real collaboration comes from Real Ups and Downs. Take it easy even when you trust the wrong ones. Start again and be more thoughtful!

A Well-Designed Life cannot be wrapped up in a piece of Counsel or Advice. It must be some crucial questions that you have to answer by yourself.

Question 1: How much of your day today did you actually spend having fun?

Question 2: How much of your day today did you actually spend advancing your career?

Question 3: How much of your day today did you actually spend nurturing your relationships?

Question 4: How much of your day today did you actually spend taking care of your breath?

Question 5: How much of your day today did you actually spend prototyping what’s next?

What does your piece of life look like now? Tell me, my friends! 


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