Bookmark to Stumbleupon. Give it a thumb StumbleUpon


If you are new to this series, please read the introduction.


Plan All the Way to the End

The ending is everything. Plan all the way to it, taking into account all the possible consequences, obstacles, and twists of fortune that might reverse your hard work and give the glory to others. By planning to the end you will not be overwhelmed by circumstances and you will know when to stop. Gently guide fortune and help determine the future by thinking far ahead.

According to the cosmology of the ancient Greeks, the gods were thought to have complete vision into the future. They saw everything to come, down to the intricate details. Men, however, were seen as victims of fate, trapped in the moment and in their emotions, unable to see beyond immediate dangers. Those heroes, such as Odysseus,, who wer able to look beyond the present and plan several steps ahead seemed to defy fate, to approximate the gods in their ability to determine the future. The comparison is still valid - those among us who think further ahead and patiently bring their plans to fruition seem to have a godlike power.

Two frogs dwelt in the same pool. The pool being dried up in the summer's heat, they left it, and set out together to seek another home. As they went along, the chanced upon a deep well, amply supplied with water, on seeing which one of the frogs said to the other, "Let us descend and make our abode in this well, it will furnish us with shelter and food." The other replied with greater caution, "But, suppose the water should fail us, how can we get out again from so great a depth?"
Do nothing without a regard for the consequences.
Aesop Fables

Because most people are too imprisoned in the moment to plan with ths kind of foresight, the ability to ignore immediate dangers and pleasures translates into power. I is the power of being able to overcome the natural human tendency to react to things as they happen, and instead to train oneself to step back, imagining the larger things taking shape beyond one's immediate vision.

In 415 B.C., the ancient Athenians attacked Sicily, believing their expedition would bring them riches, power and a glorious ending to the sixteen-year Pelopenesian War. They did not consider the dangers of an invasion so far from home; they did not foresee that the Sicilians would fight hader because the battles were on their homeland, or that all of Athens' enemies would band together against them, or war would break out on several fronts, stretching their forces too thin. The Sicillian expedition was a complete disaster, leading to the destruction of one of the greatest civilisations. The Athenians were led into the disaster by their hearts, not their minds. They saw only the chance of glory, not the dangers that loomed in the distance.

According to Cardinal de Retz, "The most ordinary cause of people's mistakes is their being too frightened at the present danger, an not enough so at that which is remote." The dangers that are remote, that loom in the distance, if we can see them as they take shape, will enable us to avoid mistakes. How many plans would we instantly abort, if we realized that we were avoiding a small danger, only to step into a larger one. So much of power is ot what you do but what you do not do - the rash ad foolish actions that you refrain from doing before they get you into trouble. Plan in detail, before you act. Do not allow vague plans to lead you into trouble. Will this have unintended consequences? Will I encourage new rivals? Will someone take advantage of my labors? Unhappy endings are much more common than happy ones. Do not be influenced by the happy ending in your mind.

Imagine the gods on Mount Olympus. Looking down on human actions from the clouds, they see in advance the endings of all the great dreams that lead to disaster and tragedy. They laugh at our inability to see beyond the moment, and at how we delude ourselves.

When you see several steps ahead, and you plan your moves to the end, you will no longer be tempted by emotion or by the desire to improvise. Your clarity will rid you of the anxiety and vagueness that are the primary reasons why so many people fail to conclude their actions successfully. You see the ending and you tolerate no deviation.

Any questions??

If you found this essay useful, please give it a thumb, on