We don’t know what the future holds

Think of your early childhood aspirations.

Maybe you wanted to visit space, practice a profession or pursue a sport.

Whatever you thought of when you were little, chances are, life has deviated from that early vision.

Perhaps you’ve realised you don’t like the idea as much as you first thought, or perhaps the cookie has crumbled in some other unpredictable way.

We create plans based on imagination

When we create a long term plan, we base it off a mental model of the world, the world as it has been up until that point.

This model has two key floors:

  1. It is based upon past information, information that won’t stay the same.
  2. It is based upon our own subjective understanding of reality, a reality that has cognitive biases and limitations in understanding, and is therefore not a representation of how things actually are.

The entropy in this model increases in proportion to time.

That is to say, the further into the future we plan, the less likely the basis for the plans (the mental model) will stay accurate.

When our plans become void

Changes in the world, and changes to our perspective can render our plans void. Reasons such as:

  • We no longer wish to pursue the plans
  • The world no longer has a place for our plans

This can leave us lost and scrambling.

Where strategies come in

Examples of broad strategies include:

  1. Saving a percentage of income routinely
  2. Seeking experiences not physical objects
  3. Maintaining your health as a priority

Strategies are not fixed in stone. They don’t say:

  1. I will save $100k when I make it
  2. I will travel the world when I retire
  3. I will go to the gym on these days at these times and do these exercises

Strategies, in the context of this post, are based on tenets of understanding.

Strategies don’t require the future to transpire in a certain way

They are based on free standing principles that will be roughly as accurate tomorrow as they are today.

They will stand us in good stead whether or not our plans work out

Plans limit us

 

 

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Posted by John Alexander

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