Why you don’t need a 5 year plan

sticky notes on paper document beside pens and box

So many people grow up having the same line repeated to them over and over again. Failing to plan is planning to fail. And it’s a valid mantra when it comes to studying for exams and practicing your art. But when it comes to real life, you’ve got to take it with a pinch of salt.

You can try to prepare for the future and you may get it almost right, but there is no real way to properly prepare for the future. And that’s why you don’t need a 5 year plan. 5 year plans can seem like a good idea, but they have their downside. Here’s why having a 5 year plan isn’t always a good idea:

It’ll stress you out

no really, it will stress you out when you need it the least. When you’re trying to focus on passing that exam or getting that job or meeting that impossible deadline, that stress can steal your attention and make it harder to get things done. While some people thrive under a certain amount of pressure, overwhelming stress can be counter-productive.

It’ll make it harder to deal with setbacks

When you have your entire future mapped out in front of you (and on a very detailed vision board) it becomes harder to deal with unexpected changes. If something happens – you fail a test, don’t get the internship you wanted or life gets in the way – you’re likely to dwell on it for longer. When the moment comes to get back up again, you’re still going to be bitter about the change in plans.

It can make you lose out on opportunities

So, you’re on track for the next 5 years and everything is going according to this great plan you have in your mind. And then an amazing opportunity arises – one that could lead to so many new opportunities, but could also lead to nothing. In this situation, you’re more likely to stick to the safety of your plan than embrace the change. You could lose out on the opportunity of a lifetime because every step on your road to success is planned out – from computer courses through to CEO.

It takes the fun out of life

Where’s the fun in knowing exactly what you’re going to be doing for the next five years? How do you find yourself (or enjoy yourself) when you have everything planned out? If you’re sticking to a rigid structure, there’s a chance you’ll end up uninspired. And some say that inspiration can be more important that motivation.

Of course, having a plan is not a bad thing, but having every step of the way mapped out is not always a good thing. You need to live life and seize opportunities and if you’re committed to a 5 year plan, you could end up losing out on what life has to offer.