Every hour of every day of my life is quite meticulously planned. I come close to Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory when it comes to following a pre-planned routine — although mine are far different from his Thai takeout night and Halo night.
One of my favourite dialogues from The Dark Knight is when the Joker says, “You know what I noticed? Nobody panics when things go according to plan. Even when the plan is horrifying. If tomorrow I told the press that, like, a gang-banger would get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics. Because it’s all part of the plan. But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well then everybody loses their minds!”
It articulates so clearly the fact that we experience a change in our natural state of mind when we encounter something that is not part of the plan.
Having said that, you might think it is actually a bad thing to meticulously plan everything. Because, then, we are only increasing the chances of something going wrong, as the more we plan the more things there are that can go wrong.
But whether we do it deliberately like I do, or not, we always have a plan in our heads, even if only unconsciously. Have you ever been cut off by someone skipping a traffic signal that caused you to brake suddenly? Has someone joined the line in the middle ahead of you as you were waiting to check out your groceries? Has someone been promoted ahead of you? Have you forgotten where you had parked your car? Have you had to wait on a customer service call for fifteen minutes listening to a recording of “We appreciate your patience, we value our customers” again and again? Has any of these things changed your state of mind?
When we meticulously plan things, we are doing it deliberately with the full understanding of the things that could possibly go wrong along the line. We account for those possibilities in our plans. And when we do encounter them (because we do), it is all part of the plan and we don’t panic and we maintain our state of mind.
Our state of mind is our most priceless asset and we should do everything we can to protect and optimize it. Because our performance is a direct reflection of our state of mind.
This shouldn’t be news to you. After all, you have gone early to the airport to account for bad traffic, you have anticipated questions and prepared for them before going to interviews, all so that you can stay at your peak state of mind.
But it isn’t just for big events like that. It is applicable to every hour of every day of our lives.
Your foremost responsibility is to protecting and optimizing your state of mind. It is the equivalent of having the midas touch. Because, everything that you do when at your peak state of mind, you excel at.
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