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Johannes Holmberg

UI developer & designer

You may think that as I'm out traveling I have purposefully planned this whole trip, deliberately made detailed goals for my every destination and that all has been outlined beforehand. It couldn't be much further from the truth.

I picked Bangkok as a destination to get myself on that plane, that's all, I had no idea where to go after that. I don't like to extravagantly allow myself into too much planning because then I'm unconsciously setting up expectations, which can be pretty harmful at times. Expectations locks me in a certain way of thinking, it locks me down a certain path before I've even reached it. I'm oblivious to other ways because I've already settled long ago.

Expectations live in a homemade imaginary universe that I've made up for things I don't really know yet.

By setting up expectations I'm inventing a fictitious bar and putting it up for pole vaulting. And after I've spent some time adjusting this metaphorical bar up and down and finally decided for a proper limit, then comes the next thing in this deteriorating formula; doubt.

I'm starting to worry beforehand that it wouldn't lead up to the expectations I've created. What if it's not for me? What if it's completely terrible? Doing that other thing is probably better than this. Maybe I should do hurdles instead of pole vaulting?

All these questions chokes my mind with thoughts about an unseen future. I'm skipping time, forgetting what matters at the moment and getting worried (or excited for that matter) about events that haven't even happened.

And when I'm actually doing that something or getting somewhere, instead of enjoying it to the fullest for what it is, I'm throwing it up as a comparison chart next to my homemade imaginary version. That isn't just not fair; it's straight out insolent.

So instead of planning too much I'm letting my instincts guide me where to go or what to do when I'm actually in a situation where I need to take action. Nothing will ever be exactly as I expected it to be anyway so why waste lots of time on something that I can't control at the moment? I enjoy things more thoroughly if I'm not constantly thinking about what's next.

Even though I'm far from infallible I'm starting to find out that I can implement this in more aspects of my life. It can be applied for going to the cinema (no expectations what the movie will be like), for ordering food (everything is good as long as I don't have any misleading predictions), for meeting friends (always enjoyable if I take it as it comes), for taking a walk (every path is desirable when it haven't been familiarized with) and so much more.

Expect nothing and you will have everything.

With all this said, I definitely do look up from time to time to check in with myself that I'm on the right track. I see it more as the intuition of doing the accurate thing rather than deliberately planning every step.

If I find my mind wandering away too far in the future and eagerly starting to work on imaginary versions for the next things; I'll take a moment to wipe myself blank. Rewinding my tape to the present. If I do that I haven't just raised my awareness of my current environment; I've also opened up for the possibilities that my own mind couldn't ever foreseen. It's the unexpected twists of a day that makes it interesting.

Life shouldn't be for planning. Life should be for living.