By Brad Thomason, CPA
I have come to accept what many a chagrinned fisherman before me has also surrendered to: the fact that February is just not a good month for us here in these ole United States. Other than Florida, the prospects are just too hit or miss; and even in Florida the circumstances are by no means certain. Florida gets winter weather (relatively speaking, anyway) too, and passing systems work the same way as that little cup you put the dice in when you play Yahtzee. Fantastic fishing one day can evaporate by the next, only to reform elsewhere. Or it might not. If you go to Florida, and you are willing to move day-by-day, for up to a couple of hundred miles, switching up your target species as conditions dictate, you can do some good in February. But that’s about the most you can hope for.
When friends ask you the week before what the plan is, the first reaction is to guffaw and declare you wish you knew.
The old expression about man planning and God laughing seems much too close by to be amusing.
There are a lot of things we deal with that we simply have no control or even influence over. This has led some to question whether planning – for anything – really makes much sense at all in the final analysis.
I’ve always thought of having a plan as less a declaration that the people are in control, and more a reference to work back to when circumstances knock you off course from time to time. A plan represents intent which persists beyond the current moment, and maybe for many decades out into the future. The paradox of the whole situation is that virtually no one ever pulls off a plan as it is originally conceived, and yet no one who ever accomplishes much over a sustained time period does so without meaning to, and working toward it. In other words, executing a plan of some sort, such as it may be.
We frequently engage in an exercise around here in which we consider the question, “What would I do if I were the king/queen of the world?” In other words, if you could have things go any way you wanted them to go, what would you bring about? The fact that you can’t just wave a magic wand and make it happen doesn’t matter. Answering the question focuses your thoughts and often makes quite obvious what you should be working for. That understanding becomes this line of intent that I’m referring to.
As events play out, there’s no real choice other than reacting to them in the moment, and then taking stock once the moment has passed. Will you persist with the same approach, or adapt to a different one?
It’s much harder to answer that question if you don’t know how you would like to see things work out in the end.
So we plan. Not because we think we are in control. Not because we think we’ll be left alone by the universe to do our work uninterrupted. But precisely because we don’t expect those things. When things don’t break our way – either because we didn’t control something we could have, or because it was never in our grasp to begin with – we are better off if we can shake it off quickly and get about the business of figuring out what to do as a result of it. It is in that moment, when instability is running highest, that the existence of the plan reaches its highest importance, too.
Unless we’re still just talking about fishing. In which case, waiting for March is probably the better bet.
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