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Christopher Columbus knew it – do we?

Christopher Columbus knew it – do we?

Christopher Columbus had his plan of exploration in mind for years before the actual event. His problem was that he had to wait for the right time as well as the right people, money and technology to catch up with him.

We all know that the most critical step in the process of completing a project is the planning phase. Planning is the foundation of a project and ultimate success depends on the depth, details and flexibility of your planning efforts. Planning a simple birthday party or a voyage to a new world requires many of the same processes. Planning must address who, what, when, where, why and how. It must also address the resources that you control in terms of time, money, technology and people. Planning always requires that one consider the restraints that are imposed on the project. Here are a few considerations for successful planning.

Planning has to consider the time element and identify the critical points in the project. A birthday party that occurs a month after the celebratory date will probably not achieve the right outcome, likewise a voyage to a new world cannot occur until the vehicle used for transport is ready. Columbus had to wait for the proper political timing as well as the opportunity to take advantage of the technology involved in construction of a new type of ship called a caravel . It is imperative that the planning cycle consider either the time that the event must occur or the length of time that is necessary to accomplish all the tasks that are entailed in the project. Our birthday party has a date certain and we can use backward planning to establish the key dates when events must occur. The cake cannot be ordered a month before the event nor can it be ordered the day of the celebration. The voyage to a new world had to have a target date set so that all events that occurred were timed in a sequential manner that enabled the journey to proceed based on a schedule.

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Money is always a critical consideration in successful planning endeavors. Even the most wealthy of people or nations have constraints. For our birthday party we will probably have some budget in mind. How much money will be spent on the cake? Will we rent a facility for the event or will it occur in a home? Will we buy balloons or party favors? All incur some expense. Likewise it is easy to imagine the expense of planning Columbus’ trip. The questions here are more complex. What will be sacrificed to pay for the voyage? Will there be money for maintaining the military force? It is easy to imagine the role of money in the planning process.

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The availability of technology is also an important part of the planning process. Technology impacts the decisions we make about something as basic as a birthday party. Are invitees going to fly to the celebration? Will we email the bakery about the details of the cake? Can a virtual birthday party occur over the Internet? The technological challenges in planning the voyage of Columbus were numerous. The trip would probably not have been successful without inventions such as the astrolabe and caravel as well as advances in cartography.

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People are the final consideration in planning. Some of the questions that must be addressed in planning are: How many are available? What skills do they possess? When do I need them?

This short article about planning highlights some of the considerations that are essential for success. It is hoped that it will shed some light on your planning endeavors and serve as an aid as you plan for events in your future. Columbus became an expert as he journeyed through the obstacles to success.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut only to get back into another one.

How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

  • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
  • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
  • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
  • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
  • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
  • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnancy in life, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help.

Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

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1. Realize You’re Not Alone

Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths.

Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

2. Find What Inspires You

Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation.

What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem.

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If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

3. Give Yourself a Break

When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave.

Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future.

These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

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4. Shake up Your Routines

Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’re 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

5. Start with a Small Step

Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward.

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Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years.

On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

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Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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