What’s the value of spontaneity?
One answer I’ve heard has to do with the possibility of things that could happen when you don’t plan anything, when you don’t “have an agenda.”
(When I write “agenda”, I mean the idea of intending something for something; having a vision or plan, however literal, written or not, detailed or not.)
This is a topic that strikes some chords with me. My life experiences in the past two decades have been a not so grand experiment with spontaneity—namely, too much of it and not enough planning in any areas that mattered.
But after a somewhat different year in 2013, in which I experimented with setting goals, taking on ambitions, and making plans, I learned the value of deliberation and being deliberate. And life changed when I realized that I could influence the outcomes of my life by planning the processes.
What’s the value in including more spontaneity when it seems to me that I get a greater consistent return by doing some planning?
So if I’ve thought about some topics of discussion that I’d like to go over in a conversation, does that limit the possibilities of what could happen in conversation? I don’t think so; I don’t see how any intent of mine limits the potential choices that someone else makes. In an appropriate situation, I may broach a topic; if we continue discussing it, cool; if the topics end up changing, no problem. I don’t know that spontaneity has been removed; subjects I hope to discuss are just those. Maybe I wouldn’t be super happy if I couldn’t get to some of them, but it’s not a major problem by any measure.
I realize I don’t exactly have a cohesive, persuasive argument here. I just felt the desire to write about this idea that’s become integrated into my worldview.
While I see value in spontaneity, I see more value in an appropriate amount of structure. I’ve hardly planned my life down to the seconds.
I’m bothered because I attribute so many of the great things that’ve happened in the last year due to the work that went into planning.
In relationships with others, I’m bothered because yes, I did spend time planning for conversation to various degrees (for those who’d like to know, at no point did I have a conversation guide; when I write “plan”, I’m talking about at most a bullet point list of items I’d hoped to discuss), with no maliciousness / negativity / ill will / ill intent towards anyone, and the results have been deeper friendships, greater bonds, and…better relationships.
I’m unsettled in a number of ways, or maybe it’s just one?
I think the internal conflict here is the desire for someone, especially the gf, to understand, contrasting with a newer part of me that is unapologetically but respectfully firm in the results life has shown.
There’s still room for spontaneity. I haven’t yet gotten to the point of squeezing out any occasions for serendipity. But I don’t see the great benefit in allowing for huge amounts of spontaneity—or as I’m seeing it now, aimlessness. Planning has allowed me to benefit from what I put into it. Spontaneity, by nature fickle, can result in so many things, most of all just nothing.
Look where 24 years of spontaneity have gotten me. Look where 1 year of planning has gotten me.
Is it surprising that I’m on the path that’s treated me better by far?