Design versus Default

Proper planning prevents poor performance. Performance in business, school and life is enhanced when we plan our work and work our plan. How many of us actually do this, however? Something tells me that most of the time, many of us fly by the seat of our pants. We have a vague notion of what we want to accomplish and we go about accomplishing it in some vague way. The results? Less than stellar.

There are two ways we can make our way through life. One is by default. The other is by design. The default approach has it that we are largely at the mercy of external circumstances and, consequently, life will take us where it takes us and there is not much we can do about it. This notion sees us as nothing more than leaves, being blown about the garden of life for the duration of our existence.

Then there is design. This is the idea that we can set a course for what we want to achieve, based on focus, planning and work. Design allows us to direct the trajectory of our lives and our projects – actually, we cannot have real projects without plans – to an infinitely greater extent than the default method.

Are we in control of all factors which affect our lives? Absolutely, positively not! However, we are in control of what we are in control of. By applying ourselves to what is under our control we can make an enormous difference in the trajectory that our lives take, in comparison to just letting our lives be buffeted by the winds of circumstance.

The key is to understand what we can control and what is beyond our control. Once we have established that, we must discipline ourselves to do two things. One is to work at what we do control. The other is to abstain from fretting about what we cannot control.

The results will certainly be better than if we left our future completely to chance. Focus. Plan. Apply effort. Be patient. Stay the course. Ultimately you will reap rewards for your actions.

Image courtesy of [ponsulak] /

*Authors note: You might see this column pop up online in a newspaper, under the name Both Sides. I am publishing this column here first at For a bunch of years, I have been writing newspaper columns. Since my columns have received a good response on CYInterview, I thought I would share it with you. Hope you enjoy.

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