"It is a bad plan that admits of no modification."
Being a planner-optimist worked for the most part until new experiences broadened my view on things. It started in earnest when we were living and working abroad, which led to lots of opportunity to travel to new places. Travel taught me that planning every detail and activity would eliminate the opportunity to be spontaneous and to be a part of new experiences that can’t be planned ahead of time. Our best travel stories were happenstances, like the time in Italy when we came upon a outdoor club gathering on our hike and they fed us, or the time an old man carrying a sack of oranges in France gestured us to follow him up a hill to a breathtaking lookout point. This last summer, one of my favorite memories was of yodeling in the Alps…because we were lost in finding our hotel and we were in no rush and no one was around. I have learned that while planning helps to optimize time in a new place, one must also leave room to take a different path if it presents itself—the rewards can be priceless.
Now I carry this forward into my daily life. Where I was more rigid, I am more flexible, more improvisational, more creative. Adaptability is what has allowed me to survive my very challenging work environment. Adaptability has also encouraged me to see things in different ways and to pursue different paths I didn’t plan for before. Adaptability makes me feel more confident in taking risks.
I still plan, and I am still an optimist, but I’ve also added creative, and adaptor. To be good and stay good at planning, optimism, creativity, and adaptability, I know I must practice every day. The only downside is that I have lately found myself to be more incompatible with inflexible people who will die on their swords for the plans/views they cast in stone and then try to impose it on me. A new challenge to overcome :)