Mental Preparation: How Everything Can Go as Planned

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I remember reading a few years back War and Peace, there was a scene, where the battle didn’t go probably go as anticipated. Yet the Russian army officer in charge looked at the result and said “everything gone as planned.”

Life is full of uncertainty. Ability to build the mental preparation and flexibility to be ready for whatever happens and think of everything that happens going as planned is a quality which I admire and strive to.

One of my favorite phrases in the recent times is that the hurry is just lack of preparation. We need to be preparing the right things at all times. What kind of preparation this is then that allows us to have the peace of mind under pressure?

In Buddhist terms this could be called “right action” and “right knowledge.” Right knowledge, knowing that you’ve thought of all the possible scenarios, sought help and a different perspective and right action because you know you’ve done everything in power to prevent this outcome. You have done everything, so therefore everything is as it should be.

In the game of Go, the side that has more liberties usually ends up winning. Same in life, where liberties mean more plans. More freedom to execute these plans and choose the best from all the possible options.

Mental preparation is anticipation for future scenarios. Do not attach too much to a plan or a result. Let your mind seek more opportunities with less attachment. Be mindful and present. Only thing we can really lose is the present. The future nor the past cannot be taken away from us, only present can.

Everything you need is in the moment, you do not need more. Let everything that appears in your present to be part of your plan and everything goes to your plan 😉

Live Your Purpose and Plan

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Do you have a dream? Have you made the dream into a goal by setting some due dates?

My purpose is good karma, which means trying to live everyday virtuously according to my values so that the after the day I would’ve done more good than harm. This is a bit difficult to assess to be honest, because even with best intentions one can end up causing harm. Knowing this, I try my best to do good and mostly that starts with myself.

My purpose shows in daily actions as following the vegetarian diet, exercising, writing journal, reading books and meditating. I try to apply it to everything I do and work, this is described as “karma yoga” or yoga of action as described in Bhagavad Gita.

After the important daily actions which I mentioned, I still usually have quite a bit of energy left: this goes to work of serving other people. Usually most of my energy goes to my professional work. After my professional work has been done and the daily actions are done, I do not have much energy left for the day. Usually with the reminder depending on the day I spend with friends, family and finally try to write and publish a blog post. Then there is also perhaps a bit time during the week or perhaps weekend for reflecting and planning for the future and reflecting of the past. Especially life planning and financial planning are perhaps weekly themes that I check, if everything is going as I feel they should.

Even though I feel like I am living a purpose, I feel like I must still have some sort of action plan and vision for life. I’ve vision about better future, where we could succeed together in bigger and more audacious projects such as discovering the potential of the human mind, space travel and exploration.

This requires learning and that’s why I am big advocate of learning: I wish everyone would have the opportunities get the basic schooling to be able to read and write. Then get the access to knowledge through teachers, mentors, and coaches. Internet is important place to learn and share the learning,

Civilization, becoming civilized I think is the answer and that happens through learning. With learning there are few necessary skills such as critical thinking and learning and the abilities to learn and required. Then with reading and language skills, access to knowledge such as teachers, internet and libraries we are finally unlocking the vast potential of human curiosity. I value highly projects such as Wikipedia, Youtube and Khan Academy.

Planning and having this positive desire, does not need to mean to having to attach to this plan or the result. Life is prioritization all the time, it’s not skillful to get attached.

Karma yoga

Your work is your responsibility,
not its result.
Never let the fruits of your actions
be your motive.
Nor give in to inaction.

Set firmly in yourself, do your work,
not attached to anything.
Remain evenminded in success,
and in failure.
Evenmindedness is true yoga.

—Bhagavad Gita, 2.47-49

Yet having a plan, means that you’ve given a thought for the future and when the future meets present, you’ve ore options. At best you’ve a different plans plan a, plan b and so worth and then you can choose the closest options or the hybrid of these plans and continue with that. Planning is proactivity and probabilities. Planning means recognizing risks and working to minimize those risks.

Life is rather short and no one exactly knows how much time we have left. Thus living a mindful, present and happy life with a sense of purpose is a sound piece of advice. Yet what could be more inspiring reason to get up than inspiring vision, that today’s actions do good today, but perhaps tomorrow as well?

Because of the shortness of the life, we have to live the purpose every day. Where we spend most of our time we should stay focused there. Yet we should be aware of the future potentials, plan for different skenarios and be awake to take advantage of them. If we could be even greater service through planning, shouldn’t we take advantage of that?

That’s exactly what I had in my mind today as I broke down my previous cash flow calculations into a more actionable goals. About a year ago as a part of the real estate investment coaching I calculated the following cash flow requirements from assets per month to feel secure, wealthy and rich.

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It’s still holds true I feel. However, as I had these stages thought out, I didn’t have much plan to how to achieve them. I had a bunch of separate ideas hanging around, yet crystal clear action plan or scenarios thought out.

Three scenarios I did manage to write for the near future, that was rather rewarding. Then in regards to this stages, I also considered the potential vehicles. Mostly I’ve come to the conclusion that real estate investing is the way to go, the vehicle of the choice so to speak. What now made these stages now really feel achievable was that I was about to calculate with my conservative numbers how many apartments I would have to own in order to achieve these goals. First earned euro from real estate asset is of course the first step, however now I also know that the first milestone is 13 apartments. This feels very energizing and great to know that it is doable number, although there is a bit of how still remaining: planning helps us to visualize the potential outcomes.

Then it is just up to us to live the life mindfully in the present and enjoy whatever life brings without an attachment!

Living Meaningful Life

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Living full life to me means much of the time and energy is focused to action, movement, doing something meaningful and then taking care that there is enough energy in both short and long term.

In between the action and movement, I’ve inbuilt moments for quiet pause as well. These pauses can be either meditation, just stopping in front of mirror and dropping the worries of the life for a moment or taking a short walk. Often the sacred time is the mornings and evenings, when I am with my journals.

Through every day experiences I try to record as much what I am going through as possible. If I’ve particular concern, I might use my previous journals and knowledge to reflect upon the issue as I’ve already dealt with similar situations, there is often a lot of buried wisdom that I’ve forgotten.

If nothing else, when the weekend when I don’t have any particular plans comes up, I get super excited. There is mountains full of information on my computer that I am ready to reflect and contemplate upon. Often time this contemplation reads to further study and research and compiling of the already learned wisdom into a new kinds of formats.

Today was Sunday, and I had a day for my favorite reflection. There is nothing like revisiting my current goals and purpose to question their relevance. Today I found out that many of my priorities have changed since the past year and a half. I clarified my current priorities in satisfying manner.

As we never have time for everything, yet we have always time for the most important things. It’s alright to revisit the priorities and goals as well. For priorities I recommend a three category system critical, big, small, which I use.

  • Critical priorities are things worth sacrificing for, virtues and values that are not up for negotiating.
  • Big categories are the important things in my life.
  • Small category is the things that are nice, they come last after the big categories are done each day.

I realized that our purpose should be at the top of the critical category, because our purpose makes us immortal in a sense. When we are living our purpose, we do not fear death. My second priority is good health, so that I may live up to the purpose. As third I list metta (loving kindness), which again guides how I do things.

Big categories are more every day, where I’ve again prioritized learning and results over people and selfless service over positive cashflow. Final item on the list is a reminder to love myself too, which is a tendency that although should be included in metta, is easily forgotten.

Small category has things I enjoy: salsa, games and red wine.

To my surprise overall number of items on my list has gotten smaller. Above all it means I managed to combine many of the qualities I appreciate. I think that having less priorities is better if we consider focus and focus is good for the results. I’ve more time for the most important things and I feel like I am progressing more.

And I think you should clarify your most important things too: think what really matters in your life and what do you feel meaningful. You have only one lifetime to live, so cut out things that do not further your purpose.

Healthy Opportunism is the Spark of Life

Great life is about fulfilling great ideas which come from relationships.

Having great relationships means finding people with who  you can compete in virtue. Borrow the courage to live your values true and live a virtuous life.

To live life fully we must be healthy opportunists. We must work, have a plan, and values, but to prioritize them smartly.


When a better opportunity presents itself be prepared to be flexible and go with it.

Choose Yourself

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Everyday experience of life can feel out of control. Even though this is the life we’ve chosen, we might forget it when we wake up. So reminding of the choice, is a good idea.

I was reminded by this choice today, as I was reading 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. As inspired by the book, I also started to pay attention to my internal dialogue and quickly noticed interesting “have to” –structure there. Quickly I reminded myself that in fact I do not have to, this is what I’ve chosen and this morning too I choose it.

This was a reminder for me, as I’ve sketched out my plan and connected that plan with actions. Those actions do include things like going out to work, writing each day and other things such as exercise, meditation and prospecting for investments. Because I’ve done this groundwork, reminding myself how this action is a choice was rather easy this morning.

Sense of freedom or illusion of the control is requirement. We can choose to be happy or to be anything as Stephen Covey puts it. That which we focus to grows. If we choose to be happy, our happiness increases.

Choose the yourself what to be and do then claim responsibility over it.

Plan the Failure to Act the Success

 

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Plan is defined in dictionary.com as a scheme or method of acting, doing, proceeding, making, etc., developed in advance.

I kind of like this definition, it’s not awesome, however mentions the important aspects of preparation in advance for something.

The only difficult thing in life is determine what is actually important, what matters.

If you would know yourself well enough to answer that question then the only remaining thing would be to think how not to fail or in other words how to succeed at that. I like the not failing here more,  not because I would encourage to avoid failure (quite opposite), however when we are preparing not to fail we can really start to kick up our planning up a notch.

When we do not want to fail, we start to think what are the most critical parts and how I am going to handle it.

The best people and organizations do this all the time, until to the point that this becomes habit and the critical situations then become automatic.

I am in love with this idea.

Succeeding is simple, have a plan and work that plan.

Influencing and controlling the uncertainty*

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I’ve been learning to live with uncertainty past year: I feel like I’ve gotten a way better at that. In fact I’ve gotten so good, that I do not stress out of the small things that would’ve made me lose good night’s sleep a year ago. It’s amazing how much our mental capacity to manage uncertainty can change!

Mostly I would attribute the change to just better understanding of reality, how things actually are instead of how I think things are. Before I would’ve been stressed, because I did not know better what is the nature of reality and especially people in that reality. Now I am more learned about the nature of people and on the other hand I worry way less about the future that is not yet present.

Calm in the present moment is the best we can do.

Even in the long term things, like investing I’ve found the ability to withstand uncertainty really helpful. This helps making investment decisions systematically and to stick with the consciously devised plan, instead of going here and there.

Action plans are helpful, because no matter in what kind of turmoil we are in, we have something thought out, some plan or strategy to follow. Some values to guide us.

Preparation certainly helps to deal with uncertainty, but in the end what matters is the ability to stay calm and look at the reality.

Nature of life is forward. We have to accept the reality to move forward. The more we can accept our reality, the more uncertainty we can take.

We have a lot of control over certain things in our life, focus most of your energy to that which you can decide and influence and you are in a good shape: you have sense of control over the chaotic. Our minds are perfect example of something we can influence and even control at times.

 

 

* This is a topic that I will definitely explore further, until next time.