“Planning has power. Executing plans has even more power, of course, but the plan comes first. Most people dither through their lives, waiting for opportunity, dodging problems, taking what comes. This is inherently passive. This is not a winning strategy. Do you like passive people? Admire them? Quit being one.

So make a plan. What goes into the plan? Later. If you have a plan , steps to get to your goal, you have something to do. You have a quick test to see whether or not you are wasting time: Will this get me closer to the plan?

Musashi said, “Do nothing that is of no use.” You want to be a black belt? Is watching a night of TV or going out drinking getting you closer to that? You want to strengthen your relationships? Spending hours alone at the gym might not be working for you.

Just having that benchmark, even if you only pay attention to it ten percent of the time, gives you a ten percent edge over almost everyone in the world. Because almost all of them are drifting, waiting for a perfect life to
be handed to them.”
– Rory Miller “Chiron Training Journal”

swordMany people will be making New Year’s resolutions soon. They make a statement about what they wish to achieve or accomplish…but they never make “the” plan to do it. Even worse, they wait for the “right time” to even consider doing their resolution.

One of the worse things that our society has happening right now, too, is that children have to “do” a lot of activities that provide awards and recognition. But does it lead to anything? Do the children understand what they are getting good at?

One of the first books that I read after starting my martial arts training was “Zen in the Martial Arts” by Joe Hyams. In it he discussed the idea of “spend time, don’t waste time.” This is a perfect match to Musashi’s statement. I regularly pose the following to new students (young ones).

“You get home from school, throw your book bag in the corner and proceed to plan video games for the next four hours. Is that spending time or wasting time? Now, how about this version – you get home from school, throw your book bag in the corner and proceed to plan two video games before starting your homework. Is that spending time or wasting time?”

Taking a little time to decompress fits into the plan and is “of use” but the concept is lost on too many. If you aren’t willing to see beyond the short term activity to how it aids you in accomplishing your plan, you will never wok your plan to success.

Maybe it is time to consider whether the things you spend many hours on will actually help your plan in achieving your goals. Things that are interesting now and that you spend hours reading about, learning and understanding may actually be part of the plan. It is said that you should “follow your passions/dreams” and that “if you love what you are doing, you’ll never work a day in your life.” These may just be “the” plan. Learning and growing plus being of service are within ever plan. Even if you don’t quite understand where it may lead, you are not being passive about your life.

One of my pet peeve’s is getting the answer “I don’t know” to any question asked. If you truly don’t have an answer, use better words to state it. More often than not, though, the answer is given because not enough thought has gone into the question. If this is allowed to be an acceptable answer, then you are not working toward your goals (based on questions usually being asked in things that you are actively working on).

Do nothing that is of no use.

Author: Master Robert Frankovich

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