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David Diana
Nov 10, 2010

The Problem With Planning

Questioner: “Is not gradualness the law of life?”

Maharaj: “Oh, no. The preparation alone is gradual, the change itself is sudden and complete. Gradual change does not take you to a new level… You need courage to let go.”

Questioner: “But I need time to collect my courage…to ripen for action.”

Maharaj: “The entire approach is wrong. Action delayed is action abandoned. There may be other chances for other actions, but the present moment is lost – irretrievably lost. All preparation is for the future – you cannot prepare for the present.”

Preparation and planning are intoxicating.

We write plans to feel in control and make the ‘right’ decisions. And yet, we focus our energies on past and future – on things outside our control. We create and follow a plan that is akin to one big spin of the Roulette Wheel. We’ll refute this notion, but it’s the truth.

I’ve always been a big planner. When business would go sour I’d start crunching numbers, review best practices, and spend days creating a detailed plan of action. I was paralyzed by planning. As fate would have it, I decided to change my approach. I wanted to see what life would be like if I decided to act in the moment, to ride the energy of inspiration and conviction.

I still have plans. It’s just that their scope and purpose have shifted. I’m now free from second guessing and fear, free from an untold number of things. Today, my ‘plans’ are designed to keep me focused on the present while being mindful of the future. It’s a dynamic process that keeps me in action mode. I learn and see by doing.

People will tell you a well thought out plan is a must. I disagree. Courageously following your convictions may be scary, but following a plan that has no connection with reality is even scarier.

Let action follow your conviction.

If inspiration hits you, give it the attention it deserves at that very moment. Don’t be lulled to sleep by your preparations. Follow the energy. It will lead you to the knowing you thought planning would open.

And remember: “Action delayed is action abandoned.”

David P. Diana is a counselor, author, and a director for a behavioral healthcare organization. He writes a weekly blog on sales and marketing for counselors (

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