Do Five Year Plans Work?


Time is energy. It is also a social construct. When we place social norms on time, age, and milestones, we subscribe to constructs that are a result of our social conditioning. For example, in our Western culture, we have come to dedicate the late 20s as the right time to get married and have kids, mostly around the 27th year mark. In other cultures, that is considered too old. In our culture, we have come to expect ourselves to have done our schooling by a certain age, then purchase a home, then run a marathon, all before we “settle down''.” While in other cultures, the idea of home ownership is not something individuals strive for, as they don’t strive for ultra-independence, rather, they value community. Yet, in other cultures, having an education is a privilege reserved for males only. So, we see that these “milestones” are social conditionings and norms set by our culture. Why then, are these expectations and timelines dictating how we feel about where we are in our lives, whether that is us being “on track” or “behind”? According to who or what? Because, we all know people who have achieved all that, and yet, they might find themselves dealing with a divorce or financial wipe-out in their 40s. And, rather than embracing the stories and wisdom that these individuals have to share with us, we tend to create shame around those experiences or exclude them from the norm. Our definition of “success” and “wealth,” as a culture, determines how we define our self-worth.


It becomes evident that, in some cases, we, and only we, can write our own story of abundance. Michael Bernard Beckwith states that, “pain pushes you, until vision pulls you.” We have come to see and understand “abundance” as “a lot of money,” or successful careers, or luxury lifestyles. We also value independence, and in some cases, ultra-independence. Although those factors enhance some aspects of our life, they don’t necessarily enhance our quality of life. It is important to investigate how we measure “abundance.” Do we measure abundance against a financial scale? To what extent does that mean safety, financial freedom, and what we do with our money to make an impact on others? We don’t always have to “share” our wealth, but how do we circulate that money energy? Do we use it to create impact or do we save it to give us a sense of safety or control? Why is this important? Because the way we behave with money, is the way we behave in our relationships. Furthermore, the way we talk about time is also the way we talk about our money and relationships. If we say things like, “I don’t have that kind of time,” or “I don’t have that kind of money,” or “ I don’t meet those kinds of people,” is one way to start recognizing the narrative we have shaped around our idea of “abundance,” and furthermore, the blocks we have in receiving abundance.


What does this all have to do with time? Well, the way we see time is in itself a block towards our sense of abundance. Do we align with our vision and goal, or do we align yourself with the amount of time it will take us to get there? Do we go on 12 week challenges and find ourselves counting days rather than visioning the results? Or, do we tell ourselves that we will make more money when we have reached a certain age, or job title? Do we say that we will find the “right person” when it’s the “right time?” These narratives are all time-bound. You can see how we have aligned with the “delay” rather than the “vision.” This way of thinking and talking is also cultural. Setting “time” goals doesn’t work for this exact reason. Because once time is up, we either find we have quit something halfway, or we are compensating with shame, resentment, and blame. What our practice needs to become is about “vision” rather than time. We need to develop a practice of “visioning” rather than timing. In order for us to achieve our “vision” we need to make the vision come to life. We need to behave as if it is already happening. We need to make choices that are rooted in nurturing that vision as if that vision is on its way.


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