As a student who is on the cusp of making important choices for my future as an adult, I am often told to sit down and make a plan. To decide which career path I wish to pursue, what colleges I’d like to apply to and how I plan to utilise my degree in the future. Though I’m hardly someone to refute the fact that high-level planning is essential in giving you a vision you can work towards, I like performing smaller tasks in bursts of spontaneity. For example, I have never in my life stuck to a study plan for more than a day. Whenever I try writing a novel, I never manage to make it past the third chapter outline before I start writing spontaneously, because the better ideas always come to me only once my novel starts taking shape.
In this blog post, I’ll be discussing why I like living life without a plan. Before I start, I’d just like to put it out there that spontaneity may not work for you, the same way planning doesn’t work for me. Ultimately, we’ve got to experiment and figure out what mode of working suits us best, because the way each of us likes to do things is different. This post is just my attempt at articulating my disinclination towards planning and why I prefer spontaneity.
I’m the type of person who thrives in a state of chaotic organisation. I simply can’t work at a clean desk and needs loud, energetic music to decipher my thoughts, not to clear them away. Adhering to a study plan is a Herculean task for me, and I find it impossible to tell you what I truly see myself doing in five years. I like getting out of my house even though the forecast says it’s going to rain, and wasting a whole day in the middle of exam season just because I can’t bear to look at my textbooks that day.
However, at the same time, I am someone who never turns in work late, has a problem not knowing where things are on my desk and can’t stand going out to eat if I don’t know where.
In short, I’m a paradox that’s really not accounted for on the spectrum. But I think I definitely lean towards the spontaneous side, and here’s why I prefer it that way:
- Planning creates expectations, and expectations often lead to disappointments:
I think that the most frustrating thing about expectations is that they often rely on the performance of other people, or on circumstances that aren’t in your control. One of the inherent flaws of planning is that it creates expectation. Sure, you may enter a situation armed with twenty six plans labelled Plan A to Plan Z, but you’re going to be disappointed when you’re most preferred plan doesn’t pan out. That’s simple human psychology.
And sometimes, it’s hard to take into account seemingly unimportant secondary impacts of a certain action or situation, which can end up with you having to do a complete one eighty degree deviation from your original plan, which may leave you disappointed, and being unprepared for a situation that you thought you were prepared for may even affect the way you think and the decisions you take then adversely.
2. Spontaneity helps me identify problems and opportunities that are completely circumstantial:
When you have a plan in mind, you generally end up working single-mindedly in order to implement it. But this means that you may overlook secondary impacts or circumstantial happenings that you couldn’t have foreseen previously. These impacts can have an effect that may prove to be detrimental in the future. Conversely, these impacts can also be opportunities that you failed to notice and make use of.
However, when you’re spontaneous, you are working on it as you see it. There’s a smaller chance you’ll miss noticing the roadblocks or the opportunities, and you’ll navigate the situation accordingly.
3. Spontaneity kindles my creativity:
I think creativity is something that everyone needs in life, not in order to survive but in order to live the best life possible.
As someone who enjoys writing, creativity is integral to me and I would like to elaborate with an example that I mentioned previously– my novel writing process.
I am what they call a ‘pantser’, or someone who wings it.
I have a vague idea of how the plot’s going to progress in my mind before I sit down to write the novel. Most of the time, all I have planned is the beginning, and particular traits of some characters. The plot and the world I’m creating start taking shape when I put these vague ideas on paper, because that’s just how my brain works. The quirks of my characters come to me when I’m writing their dialogue.
And invariably, every time I attempt to make a chapter plan, the better ideas always come to me when I see my words taking shape on paper. Because that’s when I realise that an odd detail I added out of impulse could actually take the plot in a very different direction, or that there is an inconsistency in the character’s personality and how they’re handling this situation. Then, the chapter plan I painstaking made goes out of the window, and I’m back to pantsing again, because it’s only when the situation’s happening that I get the best idea of the various ways in which it can pan out, and what effect it may have on my character’s story arcs.
4. It helps me adapt much better to situations that life throws at me:
One of the biggest pros of spontaneity is that it inherently allows for adaptations. It involves making split-of-the second decisions that can be based on intuition or impulse. People who hate planning are more open to unforeseen changes and find it much easier to adapt to such a situation when compared to people who rigidly adhere to a plan.
On the other hand, it’s not very easy making changes to a plan– firstly because it may cause some radical changes to the vision you have in mind but mostly because plans may account for changes, but when you prepare a plan, you become less mentally prepared for change.
Ultimately, adaptation is a very important component of life, and spontaneity makes it easier for me to make changes or identify roadblocks and opportunities. However, I’d like reiterate that these points are all based on my experiences as a spontaneous person, and may not apply for everyone.
5. Being spontaneous helps me live in the moment:
We live in a world where people are obsessed with the past, future and social media. This really makes it difficult for us to live in the moment. However, I believe that spontaneity really adds some spice to your life and makes you happier. It helps you explore things you normally wouldn’t and push the boundaries of your capabilities and visions in ways you could’ve never imagined.
Oh, and also simply because life is beautiful, and some of the best things that ever happened to us humans, right from the Big Bang to Harry Potter were random bursts of spontaneity!