Random Post: Planning versus Improvising



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

Pay it Forward with Jack Canfield :)



I will be honest and say that I got introduced to Jack Canfield a couple of months ago by my neighbor at the time, in an effort to motivate me into working harder and becoming successful. I am sure I have heard of the motivational speaker and author’s best-seller book series: Chicken Soup for the Soul. But I didn’t get the chance to read anything by him until my neighbor presented his book: “How to get from where you are to where you want to be – the 25 principles of success” to me.  I found the tips and advice in the book very useful and simple to follow. As you read through the principles, you will feel more confident and motivated to work harder and ask for things you might previously have fears towards them. The author’s words make you believe that anything is possible and that you are capable of achieving your dreams as long as you believe in yourself and are willing to put in the hard work and effort required to reach them.

Actually, I had won an invite to the social dinner with Jack after submitting my own success story 🙂  I basically explained how I managed to successfully change careers from a very rigid field (IT Support) into a much more creative one (lifestyle journalism). And although I still need to work on making profit from what I do, I believe that I am on the right track to making it happen.

There was a full-day workshop for the success principles, which I unfortunately didn’t win a ticket for! And after the workshop had ended, we had a Q&A session with the author. Jack answered each question in a highly informative and elaborate way. And made sure that the person found his answer helpful afterwards. I was so glad that my career specific question had been answered without me having to ask it! Actually, another guest had  asked a similar question and I was happy to get a positive and definite answer. To help you understand more, the person had asked Jack about the challenge of not being an expert in a specific field and knowing that there are others who are far more knowledgeable than you. How do you overcome such a situation in your career? that question exactly describes my dilemma! I have been trying to get a role in publishing in Dubai for the past three years! I have taken a related course in London, have done internships, and most recently have started this blog to add to my credibility. But until now, I have not been able to secure a role or to get paid for doing what I love to do most: writing.

This was Jack’s answer: whenever you set a goal, three things come up:

  1. Fears
  2. Considerations: thoughts about why it’s not possible.
  3. Road blocks: things that actually exist and prevent you from reaching your goal.

The fact that you are not an expert in the field is just a consideration. Don’t listen to it. It’s part of the process. Don’t let the consideration be a stop sign. Let it be a yield sign. He then went on to say that it takes 10,000 hours to become a master at anything. Which is equivalent to seven years of intense work. However, it can be less if you work with a master.  You need to give yourself permission to be a learner. Plus, you may already be two years ahead of other people, if you had been working towards your goal for the past two years. That means that I can proudly say that I am over three years into my learning process 😀

Another important point that Jack discussed was that when you set a goal, it’s not so much to achieve it. What matters is developing your consciousness and mastering. If you can release the fear and overcome the road blocks, you become a master. The more you challenge yourself, the more mastering you will do. So the main outcome that you need to achieve is: the more you can master yourself and your life.

Some other insightful tips that Jack mentioned and I would like to share with you are:

  • Impatience with achieving your goals leads to focusing on not having the goal. That’s why low attachment to deadlines is better.
  • You don’t have to do big things. Do small things with love. ~ Mother Teresa
  • The secret of zen: just be yourself.
  • Allow yourself to follow what makes you feel alive and good. Joy is your internal guiding system.

And the most insightful advise that Jack had given was that when we are gone from this world, all we can take is our consciousness. That’s why your main purpose should be developing your consciousness, as opposed to growing rich and becoming extremely wealthy.

Honestly, I loved Jack’s words of wisdom and advice. I felt that I had learned so many things in those two hours or less that I spent listening to him answer the audience’s questions. His answers helped bring perspective to things that I was wondering about and didn’t have answers to.

I highly recommend Jack’s books and learning materials to everyone looking to become more successful in anything in their life. Whether it’s career, relationships, finances, Jack’s books can greatly help you achieve better in all areas of your life.

There was a debate going on about the spiritual teachings of people like Eckhart Tolle and how it contradicts with the ideas of being wealthy and attaining material things. Jack answered that question clearly as well. And I will not get into the answer, but I will share with you my personal experience on this. I had read Eckhart Tolle’s books before starting my career change journey, and his books inspired me and gave me the power and strength to make big decisions in my life. However, I have been unemployed and being supported by my father financially ever since I read his books! I even joked about this with a lady from the seminar at the end of our evening. So since I only recently read Jack’s book and have started following his advise, I might start to get results in the near future 🙂

I believe that balance in everything in life is essential. And as long as we can learn how to keep a balance in everything that we do, then we should be alright.

I will end this post by explaining to you the title that I chose for it. Since my neighbor at the time had given me Jack’s book, and since it took me ages to finish reading it, I have written a dedication to my friend who lives on the same floor as me, and intended to give him the book. But luckily I won a ticket to attend the social dinner with Jack and so I got a chance to get Jack’s signature on the same book before giving it to my friend to read it. So now the book has three different dedications by three successful individuals 🙂  Yes, that’s my success story and I’m sticking to it whether I become financially independent or not 😉


Race Course at Meydan Hotel (the venue for the workshop)
Race Course at Meydan Hotel (the venue for the workshop)






View from the workshop room's window
View from the workshop room’s window


Another buggy ride!
Another buggy ride!


Jack during the Q&A session
Jack during the Q&A session


Dedication from my ex-neighbor and mentor
Dedication from my ex-neighbor and mentor


The dedication that I wrote for my friend from the floor!
The dedication that I wrote for my friend from the floor!


Jack's signature on my "pay it forward" book!
Jack’s signature on my “pay it forward” book!