Life goes on unabated without let or hindrance, be it good or bad. We grow from infancy to adolescence to youth to middle age and then comes old age and eventual departure. There is no stopping and the vagaries of time are known to all and sundry.
As is known that we need to plan our lives because if we do not have a plan then it is a life devoid of direction, a life tending to go haywire which can lead in any way, a way good or bad. In order to have a direction we require to have a purpose, an aim and an eventual target in mind.
Once we decide what our target in life is and which way we want to move then it becomes a bit easy for us to make plans, to take decisions, to analyze our weaknesses and strengths as then they are all geared towards achieving a certain target.
Planning, working and eventual achievement of this achievement can be difficult, but once you have prepared yourself, done your planning and since everything is now directed in a given direction, things should start falling in place, but do they? No, they don’t fall in place as pieces of puzzle, things become complicated and you get frustrated, dejected and stressed as things are not working out the way you had planned. We have all heard the saying ” Man proposes, God disposes.”
Bearing the above scenario in mind, we have a plan gone berserk; we are lost and are not beginning to lose direction. In all these happenings, beyond our control, we start losing sight of our eventual target, as we get involved in damage controls whereas we should have done and taken care of issues earlier under the surmise of preventive measures, but again, what are we, mere pawns in the wheel of this great universe are.
Given our frustrations, disappointments and stresses, we continue to struggle, we do not give up and we continue trying to make things work according to plan. Here is where we go wrong!
We are ignoring the basic necessity of a plan and this is to make adjustments as you go on. No plan is fool proof, you need to reassess, step back, review and adjust. Or in other words, show flexibility; never ever forget the eventual aim that we started with. If we do not adjust, we will keep on getting frustrated, stressed out and we will start thinking negatively, which will affect all parts of our life, including our personal and family life. The fault lies not with the plan, but with us, as we forget the target, get involved in problem solving and refuse to be flexible and make adjustments.
We should take cue out of the way a river flows. It has a target to fall into the sea from its original point of origin. In order to achieve its aim, it goes around cities, mountains, forests, thus making its own way. If it does not, it will destroy forestation, flood land and make it useless, destroy human life and habitat. The river achieves its aim by being flexible and not by being stubborn and obstinate.
We should act the same way, by being flexible, ready to make adjustments and not to get stuck with a given plan. The aim and target should always be kept in mind because that is the ultimate goal.
This will help us in achieving the end result we desired, whatever they may be and not get stressed, fatigued and frustrated if things do not go according to plan. Let us be innovative, flexible and ready for all eventualities as the ultimate is having your cake and eating it too.
Having said and explained the benefits of being flexible in our planning, I would like to mention here that this trait is a very valuable trait if one can set aside his or her ego. Flexibility can be applied to anything we do in everyday life. I have always tried to be flexible in my life as this was one of the first lessons taught to me by my father when I was still a child. I did not comprehend it in the beginning, nor as I grew up. I was strong willed and felt that the world was at my feet. I was good at everything I did; in studies, in sports, debates etc. at school and high school. I felt that I could do anything I want, the way I want, but then things started to happen in the opposite of what I had planned and foreseen. This lead to me getting depressed initially, then I decided to fight and more of these helped as I started to get rebellious and argumentative leading to further problems. All this started to affect my personality, behavior and my general outlook, then I returned towards God and suddenly I recalled what my father had told me when I was still a kid; I remembered “Flexibility”.
I began to think of ways to get out of my situation, continued and enhanced my contact with God and tried to be flexible and reasonable. As time went by I started to notice my different approaches starting to work and the jigsaw pieces started to fall in place and eventually I sorted out my problems and issues.
Going by hindsight, I now realize that I was wrong in trying to bulldoze my way as I kept coming up against one hurdle after another, leading to stress, depression, rebelliousness. How wrong all that was, I realize now. Had I shown flexibility in the beginning, I would have been spared all the anguish and pressure.
I have learnt my lesson, but the hard way. Let us take cue out of my own personal experiences and move towards making adjustments and being flexible as these will help in achieving our end goals as that is what we strive for and that is what counts in the end.
Talha Tashfeen Qayyum is a full-time postgraduate business student at the University of Birmingham, UK, and a freelance writer. He intends to contribute to life, society and Islam through his writings on self improvement and personal development with the vision to positively affect other people’s lives. Talha can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Life Discovery: Living, not merely Existing: talhatashfeen.blogspot.com.