When The Plan Becomes The Problem

I have a problem.

I’ve come to recognize that my greatest strength is also my biggest weakness and I am suffocating under its weight.

I think too much.

My excessive thinking is getting in my way, and I need my mind to take several seats so I can grab the wheel and put the damn gear in DRIVE.

I like to plan. I get an idea, and I plan its execution. I think about how it can connect to other ideas and people, and causes greater than itself, and its legacy, and its color scheme, and its location, and its target demographic, etc. I talk about it and get people to rally behind. I make it a binder, with dividers, and sheet protectors, and a cover page to slide in the little transparent front insert and the little side insert. And I plan on top of those plans, and flesh out grander schemes of my initial points.

Nobody is going to tell me that’s my problem. Planning is a good thing, and I’m very thorough. What’s bad is to be impulsive and to act before thinking.

But actually, I don’t know which is worse. I kind of envy the other extreme. At least they’re doing something.

Doing.

That’s the problem with planning, with thinking. When does it turn into action? Will it ever?

It doesn’t have to…

And I have found myself here, at this point, where planning has become paralyzing.

It’s a rut.

I’ve been in a rut.

The sinister thing about this kind of rut is that you’re encouraged to stay there. It’s a mirage of getting your shit together. It’s a mirage of having a good outlook and direction. You have a plan! So you’re clearly going somewhere, right?

…Right?

Planning is a convenient escape from the responsibilities of actually getting to where you want to go. You can justify this escape because you always appear to be doing something. You’re planning. That’s commendable. Psychologists have studied this topic. Just talking about your plan and getting praise for it boosts your self-identity as if you already achieved that goal. So you don’t work towards it anymore. Planning halts momentum.

So this is me saying I’m sick of not doing. I realize that I can’t plan away risk. I accept my planning as fuel for my fears of both failure and success. I’m going to think less and just do. I don’t want to always be on the way. I’m going to reach my goals. I am not SEPTA. I refuse to be SEPTA.

SEPTA slogan
A slogan as pathetic as it is brilliant.

PS, that picture ended up being a thumbnail for a YouTube video of “We’re Getting There (official music video)” by Michal Pearl Waldfogel. You should check it out and have a laugh, because it was a comical find.