“The rich man plans for tomorrow, the poor man for today.”
— Chinese Proverb
We discuss a lot about the importance of being in the present moment, so how do we reconcile being in the present moment with planning for tomorrow? The answer, simply put, is that it’s all about being fully aware in the present moment planning for tomorrow!
Now to the details…
We must remember that planning for tomorrow is not the same thing as getting anxious about tomorrow. Getting anxious about tomorrow and speculating uncertainties, we won’t be able to take any clear course of action in the present moment. Anxiety and worry is unnecessary waste of time and energy.
Considering the possibilities of tomorrow, intending how we want tomorrow to be, focusing on doing the things we have to do now that will take us there, and be totally aware and enjoy the things that we do now — this is what we mean by being in the present moment.
When you plan for tomorrow’s travel today and take the necessary actions like reserving tickets, booking accommodation, etc., you will have a ‘rich’ travel tomorrow in the sense that you will have a hassle free travel. But planning in the last moment introduces more possibilities of hassle, and hence the travel might turn out to be ‘poor’.
Planning for tomorrow (or the future) is similar to working in a team. A number of people bound together by a purpose and working together in harmony will achieve more than what all those people will achieve when they all work separately each with their own purpose. If working in a group can be considered horizontal integration, then working with a plan is vertical integration. Consider yourself to composed of many different personalities, a different person each day. When all those personalities in you work together harmoniously with a specific vision and purpose, you will have a ‘rich’ life in terms of achievement and meaningful experiences. But when each of those personalities in you have their own agenda, act on impulse and work against each other, your life will be messed up.
Planning for tomorrow, integrating different aspects of your personality and working with a clearly defined purpose is certainly not contradictory to being in the present moment. In fact, having a specific plan and clear purpose helps you avoid unnecessary speculations and helps you stay focused in the present moment. Your mind is clear of anxieties and you enjoy whatever you are doing now, that is all that matters.