We all make plans. In fact, that’s all most of us do all the time. We are making plans of the future, rosy plans, comfortable plans, beautiful plans, but most people’s most plans never take shape. Sometimes, even most simple and practical plans fizzle out. Having said that, there are plenty who are able to execute their plans. Ever wonder why, other things being equal, some people seem to succeed effortlessly while many others fail no matter how hard they try? Why are your plans not working out? Here’s my two cents worth; five reasons why your plans don’t materialize:
1. You are all thought and no action
Most people are enthusiastic and even committed to their plans. Only in their head though. They will endlessly dream about their plans, they will relentlessly talk about them but that’s about it. They never swing into action. They’ll think about losing weight for years, they’ll think about pursuing their dream, about traveling, about learning a new skill, but they stop at thinking. Often, they keep waiting for some big moment to arrive in their life before they’ll start working on their plans. Waiting for a big moment is a big mistake, in my view, because, the big moment never arrives, the big action never takes place and therefore, the big plan never materializes. Both the plan and the planner remain where they were at the beginning — nowhere.
No plans, anywhere in the world, have ever come to fruition by just thinking about them. Surely, thinking is necessary, even critical to success, but results only come from actions.
2. You expose your plans too early
Plans are like seeds. Once you sow them, cover them. Nurture them and work on them quietly. When they take shape, the world will take notice automatically. You don’t have to make announcements because when you go public with your plans, various energies, thoughts and opinions of other people begin to interfere with your original thinking. Besides, your plans are almost always going to change. So, once you make them public, every time you want to make changes to your plan, you may be worried about what will others think or say. In doing so, not only do you limit yourself but you also stop making necessary changes to your plan for the fear of looking like a fool.
If you really want to share your plans with others because it motivates you to stay disciplined, then ideally, announce your plan of action and not the outcome. For example, your plan may be to lose 20 pounds in 2015. Don’t say, “I’m going to lose 20 pounds this year.” Instead, say, “I’ll go to the gym 5 days a week and I’m quitting desserts.” Or something like that. Hope you get the drift. When you don’t promise an outcome but action, you are able to work lot more freely and ably.
3. You give up too soon
This is the most common problem. It is the number one cause, actually. It doesn’t matter what are you after, it won’t happen in an instant. It will take its due time. If a tree takes a hundred blows to fall, you can’t get to the hundredth blow from the word go. The first 99 blows are just as important. Without the first 99, there’s no 100.
How soon is too soon, you may ask? Well, when you give up without reaching the end goal, you’ve given up too soon. I’m not suggesting that you stick to unreasonable plans. Many a time people make wrong financial, professional or personal decisions, and it’s okay to accept that you made a mistake, make ammends and move on. But, for all other goals where you are not running out of resources, where you can reasonably put in a greater effort, especially personal development goals, don’t give up until you reach your destination. Take baby steps and keep taking them, one after another. Before you know it, you’ll have covered the whole nine yards.
4. You don’t listen
It’s one thing to be sure of your plans, it’s another altogether to think that you have the best plan. The former is confidence and the latter foolishness. Research has it that 95% of businesses shut down within their first year of operation. Most entrepreneurs are so in love with their businesses that they become blind to even right feedback. “My idea can’t be wrong, my decisions are sound. I’m too smart for these people around me.” This is how most of us (secretly) feel about ourselves and our plans.
Yes, yes, I know that those who succeed are the ones who trust their gut instinct. Go ahead, trust your instincts, but, trust me, it doesn’t harm to listen to the other person. At least, just listen. Once done, you can decide if you want to take up their feedback or not. Who knows, something good may come out of it. That said, you don’t have to listen to all forms of unsolicited advice, and you can certainly filter out those who are more interested in criticizing you than giving you an honest opinion. But, those who disagree with you after listening to you properly, hear them out. They mean well.
5. You don’t follow your discipline
If you observe successful people around you, in any sphere, you’ll discover that they don’t waste their time. They lead their life with a certain discipline. From the greatest leaders to the richest people, discipline is the hallmark of their life. Once you set a discipline, follow it. Your mind will give you numerous excuses to falter, to take it easy today, to do it tomorrow or to abandon your plan altogether. The only thing you have to do is to not listen to your mind. The more determined you are to follow your discipline, the less excuses your mind will come up with. And, once your mind realizes that you don’t waver, it stops complaining.
If you are hardworking and disciplined, if you are a good listener and can work without seeking attention, your success is as good as given.
Mulla Nasrudin’s wife convinced him to see a therapist for his stubborn nature and repeated failures. Fearing that Mulla may not open up, she secretly called the psychologist and briefed him in advance.
“I sense you suffer from self-fantasizing,” he said to Mulla in the first session.
“What is that?”
“It means you have a very high opinion about yourself.”
“That’s a load of crap,” Mulla said. “I actually think of myself much less than I really am.”
If within you and around you, you are in touch with reality, if you are true to yourself, your chances of seeing your plans materialize go up exponentially. Palaces of success are built on a truthful and sincere ground. One block at a time.
Your dreams may be unreal and that’s fine so long as your actions are real.