Prepare — then let it happen

THEY’RE HERE. MORE ARE COMING.
DON’T WORRY.
WE HAVE A PLAN.

Tagline of “Threshold”

I’m currently preparing my thesis defense and I’m reminded of something that I heard a long time ago: Prepare — then let it happen.

Many people prepare something — a presentation, a date, a vacation — and they try with all their might to stick to this preparation, this plan they have created beforehand. Sure, they are on very sure ground when they stick to the things they have planned beforehand, but on the other hand, sometimes the real situation is so different to the assumptions the plan is based on that carrying out this plan will lead to confusion, boredom, or anger.
I’ve had some presentations where I skipped or changed things (slides or words, not content ;-)), some dates where I changed my goals for the evening (e.g., having a nice conversation and learning something instead of finding a life-time partner), and I had vacations where the plan pretty much flew out of the window from day one (kinda like my luggage — no, only kidding ;-)).

This does not mean that the planning is a complete loss or *gasp* a waste of time. On the contrary. It gives you a basis, it gives you secure ground, and you will most likely still use patches of the information you gathered beforehand. If you prepare and cover much more ground than you plan to tread on in the actual situation, you will have a well stocked magazine to deal with many unforeseen circumstances.

But you will be wise if you do not stick to the whole plan if reality proves to be too different — and in the situation itself, just go with the flow and enjoy it. 🙂

(Yeah, I’m pretty much scared of this thesis defense and trying to cheer myself up. ;-))

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