Goals and Planning

Questioner: Sir, you said that in life don’t plan for a thing, just let it happen. But how to get what we want without planning? When I was sitting in the class sometime before you said, “Take your time, write , think about the question.” This is also planning.

Acharya Prashant: You are very right. Not only is this a planning, even this is a planning that I had set my alarm for half past seven in the morning. I had taken certain printouts to be distributed at half past two in the afternoon today, even this is planning. There is no doubt about it. Understand this.

In all the trivial matters of life, go ahead and plan. You want to fly somewhere, you will need to buy a ticket in advance, go ahead and plan. It is true that when I come here, I have to plan as to what time I will leave my office.

But do I also plan what I will say to you? Do I also plan what you will ask me? Do I know what is written in your sheets? Do I know what I am going to say next?

Whatever is inconsequential, go ahead and plan it. It anyway does not matter.
Whatever is important, whatever is central, kindly do not let any kind of planning touch it.

You are going to meet somebody, alright, plan out the time of meeting. But for God’s sake, do not plan what you will do after meeting. ‘We’ll hug at 8, we’ll kiss at 8:15.‘ Now what kind of meeting is this? Are you getting what am I saying?

All the petty and trivial stuff, that needs to be planned. Go ahead and plan it. You will need to plan the design of your house, but do not plan what you will do inside the house.

As you minimize the role of planning in your life, your freedom increases. Getting it? Planning is your own bondage. You have told yourself that I cannot go beyond my plan. Why do you want to impose such a bondage upon yourself? Is there a need?

Listener: Can it be the case that setting the goal is good but chasing the goal is bad?

AP: Why does one set a goal? Sitting over here, do you have a goal right now? In your moments of joy, do you have a goal? Deeply immersed in love, do you have a goal? So, when do you have a goal? When you are joyless, when you are loveless, when you are suffering, only then you have a goal.

Do you want to have goals in life?
Invite suffering.

The more deeply you suffer, the more you will be attached to your goals. All goals arise out of suffering and they also perpetuate your suffering. What does a goal tell you? The goal tells you that I can take care of your suffering.

It tells you that if you attain me, if you reach me, then your suffering will be removed. You are suffering right now, the goal is in the future; always. When is the suffering? Right now. What is the goal telling you? That the suffering will be taken care of in the future. I have a headache right now. I need a treatment right now; not two years later.

You are feeling miserable today, but what are you telling yourself? That two years later I will get a job and then I will not feel miserable anymore. It’s a false medicine. It will not help you. And that’s exactly why we set goals. Because we don’t feel good about ourselves.

We say, ‘There is something wrong with me, once I attain the goal things will be set right.
Is that not the logic of goals?


Excerpts from a Samvaad session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: Goals and Planning | YouTube

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2 thoughts on “Goals and Planning

  1. What are your top 3 most important life goals?
    Dear Friend, As we are, to give number to our goals is difficult. Our goals are as endless as our desires. I like you searched to know about goals and their priorities. Couple of months back while searching I stumbled on a quote by Acharya Prashant whi…

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