Seldom do I come across a blog written in another field, by another person, on another topic that the words "financial planning" specifically appears in the post. Oh, sure there can be subtle references to planning, corollaries can be drawn, inferences can be made, but frankly, I read this blog post from Seth Godin (http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2012/09/truth-and-consequences.html) and had to go back and read it again. I figured it this way, if it actually includes the terms "financial" and "planning" and includes them together I'm almost compelled to write about it aren't I?

Transient

Of course I have a different take on the post from my blog mentor. (He doesn't know he's my blog mentor. At point of fact, he doesn't even know I exist, let alone that I blog or that I consider him my blog mentor.)

Yes, it (financial planning) is about "truth and consequences" to be sure. And it (financial planning) is about the selling of tomorrow.  (Actually, I believe it's more about the admonition that you pay attention to the fact that there is a tomorrow and that your best chance to be ready for it is to pay attention today.)

The idea that worrying about, planning for, or envisioning tomorrow isn't fun is an area of some philosophical differences that my mentor and I have. My guess would be that most people like to keep a steady string of "funs" going, no? I don't recall many if any times in my life that amidst fun and revelry where someone shouted out, "I can't wait till this is over....!!"

Be that as it may then, the work of today is about keeping the fun going. But if we can't make the actual work of today fun, let's change the focus a bit. In the New York City mayoral elections way back when it was John Lindsay against Abe Beam it was duly noted during the campaign that "perception is reality."  With that in mind, can we change the perception of planning and tomorrow and fun all at the same time?

I believe we can if we just take the time to admit that the work that we do today will enable the fun to continue for as long as we want fun to be the basic building block of our lives. (Few if any people don't want that correct?) 

There are clearly certain things in life we don't want to be temporary.

  • love
  • friendship
  • companionship,
  • health are just a few.

I think that fun makes the list. And, just like the other more typically desirable states of human emotion noted above, formulating a strategy of persistent fun takes working at it everyday.

Short-term thinking gets in the way of doing that, short-term thinking almost always gets it the way when you get right down to it. That's why diets and gym memberships are so fragile. It's not that we simply want something, it's that we want it now and we want ALL OF IT, now. It appears that progressively sneaking up on success isn't desirable.  But just like Seal Team 6, sneaking up  and doing it effectively has to be the precursor to busting in the door on success. 

When dealing with other "fun" stuff in life, we've learned that it's a game of numbers. The more you do the right things, the greater the chance of success. And, we've learned that as long as we have our goal squarely in our sites, along the way we can,  temper and manage and shift and refocus. There isn't a successful long-term weight loss program worth it's price that doesn't allow for a pepperoni pizza or some Oreo's and milk in the mix. Planning isn't a rock pile or a pick-ax or death march. It's foundational, and in more ways than you might think. Like the other life desires noted, it gets somewhat easier the more you do it, though it like the others is very seldom if ever mastered. 

Let me assure you of one thing. The "my life will be mostly fun, some not fun tool-kit" (aka, planning) that you implement today will directly impact your ability to keep the fun coming. Just as assuredly, your inability to plan for it, will decrease your ability to plan on it. 

Change how you think, it's not planning, it's the preservation and sustenance of fun. Oh, I know, the work isn't fun but it's not about the work, it's about the end product. If we can grill a steak on the trusty old Weber outside in near zero degree temperatures for the joy of a dinner well made, you've been there. The fun's not freezing while you grill or running outside every few minutes to check on the status of your sirloins, it's about the dinner. As you anticipate the meal, the prep work seems to fade in comparison.  The "work" is what you do to get what you want. 

Planning or protein....doesn't matter, same-old-same old.

In order to keep the fun coming you gotta plan for it. You can tell that's a successful strategy because no one every had to be sold on fun.

Special Supplement: The less than latent food references are largely do to the fact that as I sit here writing this blog, I just crossed the "I've lost 50 pounds" mark a few days ago. Yes, it was work, and yes it was a bit more fun than not. Yes, there were more than a few pepperoni pizza's, Oreos, Weight Watchers ice cream sandwiches, honey-bbq Frito's, etc. There was also lots of exercise band workouts, miles upon miles, upon miles walked and run. There was struggle and strife, easy stretches and not so easy stretches. My waist size reduced 11 inches, my back no longer hurts and I now have a waistline. My fear that I'd soon start to emit my very own gravitational field has gone and I've been assured that NASA is no longer tracking me as a near-earth object. 

The thing that doesn't make it all seem like just so much work is the knowledge that I've reached a goal that at one point seemed insurmountable. It seemed insurmountable because I didn't want to lose weight, I just wanted to LOSE weight in the sense that I just wanted it to be gone. Done, finished.  What was once work that required laser focus is now more or less a way of life. 

And most importantly, the trajectory of my life is the one that I want to be on. Knowing that is what has made it all seem worth it. Knowing that was the goal.

Knowing that is fun.