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Welcome to This Awful/Awesome Life! My name is Frances Joyce. I am the publisher and editor of this magazine. We'll be exploring different topics each month to inform, entertain and inspire you. Meet new authors, sharpen your brain and pick up a few tips on life, love, entertaining and business. Enjoy and please share!

Man Plans and God Laughs by Fran Joyce


“What identifies us as free spirits or planner/plotters?”

Most of us think we know, but on closer examination the answer to this question isn’t so obvious. To understand how people perceive these qualities in themselves and others, I decided to check out a few quotes about free spirits and planner/plotters.

 “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Alan Lakein (author of the bestselling book, How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life).

Conversely, there are people who claim to be free spirits, never planning just reacting and remaining open to the moment.

“I am a firm believer in serendipity – all the random pieces coming together in one wonderful moment, when suddenly you see what their purpose was all along.” David Levithan (author and editor).

 “Meticulous planning will enable everything a man does to appear spontaneous.” Mark Caine (analyst, strategist and communicator).

Which scenario best describes your philosophy?

If you are a planner/plotter, there are a myriad of templates and worksheets, Five Year Plans and Life Plans, available online to help you plan for the future.

According to one template, the key to success lies in setting a goal for the future then dividing up your life into seven categories: Finances, Career, Relationships, Family, Social, Health and Travel. For each category, you are supposed to state an objective to help you work toward the goal and three ways to achieve each objective. There’s also a list of “88 Things to do When You are Bored.” Who has time to be bored when you are planning every waking moment of your life?

Typically, when I think of planner/plotters the first people who come to mind are businessmen, politicians and military leaders, not artists, performers, or writers.

“Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

“A few years ago, I bought an old red bicycle with the words Free Spirit written across its side - which is exactly what I felt like when I rode it down the street in a tie-dyed dress.” Drew Barrymore

Can you imagine Warren Buffet or Gen. Robert B. Abrams riding an old red bike and channeling their inner Bobby McFerrin? No, I think not.

“We enjoy the process far more than the proceeds.” Warren Buffet.  And, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

As I explored this subject, I found support for my assumptions, but also compelling data to suggest, despite their claims, most people are a combination of these two philosophies.

I still have trouble imagining Katy Perry or Jim Carrey sitting around making lists and setting five year plans, but maybe that’s a side of their personalities the public doesn’t see.

“I just like having fun.” Katy Perry

Yet, according to Perry, “I’ve always been ambitious since I was nine years old and that was never going to change.”

“If you aren’t in the moment, you are either looking forward to uncertainty, or back to pain and regret.” Jim Carrey.

Other Carrey quotes worth mentioning are “You can’t just visualize it and then go eat a sandwich,” and “So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach, so we never dare to ask the universe for it. I’m proof that you can ask the universe for it.”

“One of the advantages of being disorganized is that one is always having surprising discoveries.” Winnie the Pooh (A.A. Milne).

Who wouldn’t love to live in the Hundred Acre Wood with Pooh and his friends? It’s a great place to visit, but even Christopher Robin had to grow up sometime.

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Being spontaneous and living in the moment can be wonderful as long as you spontaneously live within your means and you remain open to the possibility that the stuff that happens isn’t always good, so you still need to save for a rainy day and contribute to a retirement program.

I love lists and I love the concept of serendipity, so Jeff Bezos and I have a little more in common than an Amazon Prime membership.

“There’ll always be serendipity involved in discovery.” Jeff Bezos.

Go ahead let that sink in for a moment. Jeff Bezos, one of the most successful men in the world still believes in serendipity.

Planner/Plotters can be Free Spirits and Free Spirits can be Planner/Plotters. We need to be both if we are to succeed in any meaningful way. If you wait for the universe to provide you must be ready to accept whatever comes your way and not complain about what you missed.

If you spend all your time planning and plotting, you should be aware of the old Yiddish adage, “Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht.” The English translation is, “Man Plans, and God Laughs.”

“The planning fallacy is that you make a plan, which is usually a best-case scenario. Then you assume that the outcome will follow your plan, even when you should know better.” Daniel Kahneman (Israeli-American author and psychologist).

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Finally, I’d like to leave you with these words by an American hero.

 “And I think that still is true of this business - which is basically research and development - that you probably spend more time in planning and training and designing for things to go wrong, and how you cope with them, than you do for things to go right.”  Alan Shepard (American astronaut, naval aviator, test pilot and businessman).

Several quotes for this article were taken from: Be sure to visit their website for more interesting and inspirational quotes.


June 2018 in This Awful Awesome Life

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