I must admit, I have a crazy obsession with lists. I make lists for everything; from to-do lists for the next day’s tasks, to grocery/random shopping lists, to future plans lists. My uncontrollable compulsive obsession with lists even gets me writing lists for the topics that I want to discuss with the people that I meet! sometimes these people are ones who I meet for the first time for business, but many times, they’re just friends who I’m catching up with over lunch or coffee!
I’ve always been super organized, and overly systematic in my thoughts, my plans and my life in general. Now while this may not necessarily be a bad thing, or anything to be worried about, the conflict that I face when dealing with others who don’t follow the same pattern of thinking or lifestyle was my main inspiration to write this post.
Anyone who lives in Dubai knows that it’s a melting pot of different ethnic groups, religions and nationalities. Each with their own set of values, cultures and lifestyles. This strong multi-cultured kaleidoscope obviously has its advantages and challenges. It’s always interesting and insightful to learn about other backgrounds and cultures, to hear stories from different voices and nationalities, and to connect with others who share your triumphs or successes.
At the same time, dealing with people from multiple parts of the world can be challenging and draining at times. Some of the differences between cultures can cause serious conflict between individuals, and lead to immense stress and misunderstandings. The value of time and planning are one of the main concepts of clashes between people from different cultures and backgrounds.
While some of us might be punctual to the minute when it comes to time, others may not think it’s a big deal if they showed up 20 or 30 minutes late to an appointment or a meeting. Planning is another one. While I like to plan the next day’s tasks well in advance, and arrange any meetings with people accordingly, those individuals who I’m meeting with may not have given that appointment much consideration and will therefore end up cancelling at the last minute, because they found out that they had other “commitments” and so won’t be able to make it.
For someone who occasionally plans their casual conversations with friends and family, I find it difficult to understand people who act so spontaneously and who make their plans up as they go about their lives. Not only do I don’t get them, I also try my best to avoid meeting them or working with them, resort to distancing myself from them, and sadly, I also loose most of my respect for them.
I’m not saying that relying on your wits and doing things randomly is a no-no at all times. Sometimes, being spontaneous leads to fun experiences, gets you to explore new things, and even brings the things that you need the most your way!
This is why, I think a balance between planning and improvisation is the best way to go. You shouldn’t be totally against going with the flow, as you never know where that might take you. Making room for spontaneity is essential in keeping our lives rich and vibrant, away from boring routines and monotonous activities and lifestyles. So, despite not being totally against being spontaneous, I am a firm believer in planning and setting daily goals for yourself.
I always wonder how non-planners know when they’ve reached a specific goal that they have set for themselves? Or do they not bother with setting goals and working towards them in the first place?
In my opinion, the only way that you can progress and improve yourself and your life is by setting definite goals, working towards them, and then changing them along the way. Not sure how that works for people who don’t like to make plans. I tend to set all types of goals for myself; personal, career, financial. And in the end, they are all connected to make up who you are and what kind of life you are – will be – living.
I always aim big, then lower my goals according to reality. I set very high standards – sometimes unrealistic or unachievable – and then work my way towards them. Until I either reach those exact goals, others that are close, or decide on new goals and work towards those.
OK, for the sake of not wanting this post to turn into a self-help book (article in this case), I will end my post by asking you to tell me what type of person do you consider yourself to be – an avid planner or someone who likes to be creative and make things up as they go along? Do you mostly rely on your instincts and just do what feels right for that moment in time? or do you have endless to-do lists and planner books filled with daily tasks, and plans for next year’s summer holiday maybe?
I would love to hear your views on this 🙂
The Rebellious Saudi Diva xxx