Plan in Pencil

Happy new season. It is the time of the year when we start talking about resolutions versus habits. If you are busy making plans, consider making your plans in pencil. You might perceive pencil to be a metaphor for doubt, fear or lack of confidence. The reality is, there is no life or strategic plan that is without risk.  “Etch your vision in stone, but sketch your strategy in pencil”, Steven Furtick. One of the greatest lessons or probably just a reminder from the year just ended is the fact that there is only so much one can control or influence, regardless of how well they prepare.

Brian Tracy states that the four keys to success are; writing down your goal, setting a deadline with a plan to get there, taking action on your plan and lastly persisting until you succeed. If achieving success was meant to be easy or without risk, then there would be no need for the mention of persistence. To persist in this case means to continue despite difficulty or opposition.  Difficulty and opposition will always be there, the magnitudes of which one cannot always preempt. Which is why, when planning, it is best to do so whilst being mindful of the fact that the course of plan may need to change. Award winning singer-song writer, Jon Bon Jovi said, “Map your way, but do it in pencil. The road ahead is as long as you make it. Make it worth the trip”.

A pencil is not a metaphor for weakness, doubt, fear or immaturity. It signifies openness and preparedness to learning new skills whenever needed. It is flexibility to change direction when one faces life road blocks and terrains. Even to change direction because of a better and more efficient route discovered along the way. It means rescheduling or postponing by a few hours, days, weeks and maybe months, due to sudden storms or other disasters. It means acceptance of being human and thus creating room to err, fail and have unforeseen oversight. Being human further implying humility to seek support and advice from others. It signifies resourcefulness, because to erase pencil is more efficient than attempting to correct ink.  With pencil, things such as regret, frustration, disappointment and hesitation to correct or enhance the route are all minimal and more bearable than with ink. Pencil creates ample scope for unplanned and ad hoc do-overs. “Art, unlike life, permits do-overs; the illusion that one can get things right with craft and persistence”, Khan Man. All the best with your 2021 plans. With pencil you are undefeatable.

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