For as long as I can remember, I had been raised with a series of steps that I needed to keep in mind. First and foremost was school. After those 12 years flew by then came post-secondary education, which had become an 'of course' rather than a 'what if' from many years prior. Of course I'd be going to university and of course right after I'd graduated I'd be getting a steady job, sat somewhere in an office cubical with a junk food habit to pass the time.
The idea of being where I am now - a few months out of the aforementioned office job and not really sure what's to come next - would have terrified me a few years ago because of my dependance on these steps. I thrive off of plans, a schedule, and specific instructions; that's how I know I'm on the right track and on the way to a certain endpoint. The endpoint could be a graduation, a 'dream job', or even a loving relationship. Whatever I saw at the end of the road was where I wanted to be, and the journey it took to get there was nothing but a nuisance and stressful.
I can't really say I've changed my mindset all that much about my path to my goals, but I've begun to realize that a lot of the fun, experience, and growth happens on the journey and not always at the finish line. I was recently listening to the mustards podcast where they discuss why reaching a goal does not necessarily make everyone happy. They present it in the form of percentages, 100% being said goal. Jenny discusses how she gets the most pleasure from the beginning of a new challenge, not from achieving it (say, 15% in), whereas David is happiest when he is comfortably amidst the process of reaching his end goal (75% in).
This had me really thinking about the states of becoming, being, and been there - all part of the same journey, but each one providing a different level of experience and emotion. Some of us thrive from the becoming part, others from actually being in their 'dream job', and some from being able to say that they achieved what they wanted. As someone who has always depended on a set plan necessary for success, it's been a bit refreshing to acknowledge that letting things just happen is also an enjoyable part of the process. Whenever I've tried to force myself to stick to a rigid schedule or structure of what I think is the 'right method', I always end up hating where I am, what I've done, or where I'm headed. It takes away some of the enjoyment of being able to revel in every aspect of the journey.
My self-improvement objective for the next few months is to recognize that I am happiest when I set a target and just let intuition take the reins while I try to achieve it. It's a very powerful thing to be able to trust yourself, but I can honestly admit that I do. I know that if I introduce a new goal into my life, I will do everything I can to reach it, despite not necessarily having a structured plan. Rolling with the punches and being able to pick myself back up after an unexpected derailment is so much less stressful than following predetermined steps and then realizing that it's not the road you wanted to be on.
How do you feel about letting things just happen? Are you more of a planner?