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Life: ‘Plan for the future’ or ‘live in the moment’?

Planners like to think ahead and plan for almost all things before doing them. / Photo: Net

When you live a pre-planned life, forecasting is the core of your existence. You think ahead and plan for almost all things before doing them. For those who live in the moment, however, life is an adventure. They live each day as it comes; life’s events are more of a surprise—random and exciting.

These are two different approaches to life, the one you choose to live by is entirely an individual choice. 

 

However, what’s important to understand is that each perspective comes with both advantages and disadvantages. 

 

Ange Uwineza, a customer care agent, believes in planning for things in her life. This way, she says, she is able to better prepare for the future and avoid unexpected surprises.

 

“I always want to have things scheduled for when they will be done. It helps me keep focused and avoid procrastinating,” she says.

“To live in the present and ignore the future is not the best approach to life, we should always be prepared for the future life,” she adds.

Although Lambert Muhoza, a student, understands that planning is a crucial part of those who always look out for the future, he says such people are prone to anxiety.

He observes that people who over plan tend to worry too much about how things will turn out that they forget to focus on the present.

“Planning is most certainly necessary, however, over doing it makes you live life in shadows. You only realise a moment after it has passed,” he says.

Writer Samantha Boardman notes that living in the moment isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. 

She explains that thinking about your future self can actually help you stay grounded to make better choices in the here and now.

YOLO (You Only Live Once) may be a cultural refrain, but long-term thinking can help us be the best versions of ourselves today. Sometimes the best way to make the most of a moment is to consider the future, she writes.

Eric Nsenga, an IT specialist, doesn’t agree. For him, planning ahead comes with stress, and he sees it as futile since he believes he has little to no control over the future.

He practices living in the present because it makes him feel happy by focusing on what’s currently happening in his life.

Uwineza emphasises that the downside of living in the now is that a person will mostly live to seek pleasure and delight from life. This, she says, might sound like the best approach to life but it erases a clear perspective for where one wants to head next in life.

“For someone who’s constantly living in the present, the future might be vague and obscure. This leaves no room for growth as a person.”

Finding ‘the middle ground’

Author Alexander Draghici highlights that, deciding whether being concerned with the future is positive or negative, mainly depends on what you mean by ‘concerned’. 

If it means constant worrying, then being future-oriented might have a bad connotation for you. In this case, should we be more present-oriented? After all, life happens here and now. The present is tangible while the future is not. But if we focus mainly on the present, how can we plan ahead for the future? The truth, as always, is somewhere in the middle.

He adds, since both perspectives are good and bad at the same time, what’s the alternative? The best thing you can do is pick ‘the good’ out of each perspective. You can do this by simply focusing on the context, the nature of an event. For example, if you receive good news, be happy. Put aside your troubles and enjoy this wonderful moment. When your boss assigns you a task, put aside the present and focus on how you’re going to complete the job (future). It’s all about shifting your time perspective, depending on the context and the nature of the event. You can be both present and future-oriented as long as you know when to use each perspective.

dmbabazi@newtimesrwanda.com

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