You Can Plan for Tomorrow….Just Don’t Plan on Tomorrow!

I have been involved in the practice of Tai-Chi for over twenty years.  One of the central tenants of the philosophy is to “go with the flow.”   It has almost become a cliché to use such a phrase, but the reality is that it is a very difficult thing to do.

First, you must be aware and understand what “the flow” is.  This task is very complicated because each of us tempers our experience of events through the lens of our “perceptional prejudices,” mostly unconsciously.  It also requires a high degree of awareness, which is difficult to attain in our noisy lives.  Many people spend their whole lives and never acquire this ability.

The second part is even more daunting.  Our goal driven culture demands we give thought to what we want to accomplish and how we are going to do it.  Yet, time and time again, life reminds us that, while such actions provide guidance, the actual events that transpire dictate what happens.  It turns out that adaptability is just as important as preparation when it comes to living.

Just think back to a day when you got out of bed with a clear picture of how your day would go.  You were full of energy and enthused about your prospective achievements.  Then BLAM!  The unplanned variable hits.  Your carefully laid out plan goes out the window and it’s back to the drawing board.  Now here is where it gets real interesting.

It seems that buried in all of the chaos is both distraction and opportunity.  What determines which one you will find depends a great deal on your flexibility (not the event).  My takeaway from such experiences is that you should pay more attention to where you are going than how you are going to get there.  Sometimes the destination is not even clear.  In short, trust the process not the plan.  Financial Life Planning is the art of coaching people along the journey.  Without purposeful coaching, it is all too easy to get hung up in disappointment and frustration.

Until next time, that’s my opinion.

©2014 Robert J. Cole, Jr., CLU, ChFC, CASL, CFP®

Editor’s Note: Money Quotient is pleased to publish this thought provoking post written by longtime M.Q. friend and Licensee, Robert J. Cole, Jr., CLU, ChFC, CASL, CFP®.  Bob is the founder and president of Financial Architects, Inc., a financial planning firm located in Louisville, Kentucky.

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