A few years ago I played in an Ultimate Frisbee league in Boston. The league is a casual one. Generally, teams don’t meet up to practice, but the members show up each week, play hard, and might decide to socialize afterwards. Overall, it is an amazing environment for playing Frisbee. People are laid back, friendly, and have a great attitude towards the sport.
As the team captain one season, I decided to innovate a little bit, and each week I sent out a game plan for the team to study before our weekly game. This made us far more competitive. In fact, we were undefeated that season, with a huge point differential over the other teams.
There’s nothing wrong with playing a casual game of Frisbee – but if you play against an organized team that has a solid game plan, you are going to lose.
That’s Frisbee. What about your life? Do you have a clear plan for how you will live?
In this post we will consider another crucial benefit to a life plan: it leads to growth because it keeps us from hopping on the latest fads and repeating the same mistakes.
From fad to fad
Without a life plan, we are far more likely to just go along with the crowd. Whatever our peer group wants to do, we do. The repeated images from media exposure will rewire what we value, how we spend our money, and the very direction of our lives. Companies spend around $120 billion a year on advertising for a reason.
As the advertising campaigns change, so will we. Whatever the latest fashions are in our media market or peer group, we’ll end up conforming to them like everyone else.
The fact is, without a firm commitment to living according to God’s principles, you will be like “a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6), doubting who to follow and which way to go.
Not Even Lost
When you aren’t sure what you value or where you’re headed in life, it can be easy to have this amorphous sense of “something’s not right.” But what’s not right? If you wanted to identify your weak points, or have a distinct understanding of where you need to change, where do you start?
If you are going on a trip to a particular destination, you can get lost. Once lost, you can get directions to get back on track. But if you don’t have anywhere in particular to go, of course you can’t get lost.
Absent any idea on where you’re headed, you don’t know what you need to change in order to arrive at your destination. Walking in circles or aimless loops, you won’t make any progress towards your goal.
By contrast, if you have a life plan, you can continue to make course corrections and experience substantial growth over time.
If you know your values and have a plan for living them out, then you can avoid these common traps. A life plan isn’t foolproof, but it can keep you from being unduly influenced by the crowd. It will help you avoid stagnation and repeating the same mistakes over and over again.
Instead, a life plan will set you up to experience tremendous personal growth.
Question for Reflection:
In what ways are you conforming to your peers or going in circles?