“A good traveler has no fixed plans,
and is not intent on arriving.”
~ Stephen Mitchell (trans.), Tao Te Ching: A New English Version (New York: Harper Perennial), 2006.
Mike Tyson put the point more crudely: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”
The text does not say to not make any plans—just to not hold onto them too tightly. Every moment, every situation, every day is the same: we come to it with a cluster of ideas, expectations, goals, plans, etc., but reality ultimately dictates the terms and tempo of battle. The art of entering the battle well is to strike just the right balance between narrowing our focus to master the moment and opening our awareness to welcome what it has to show us.
Our productivity-driven culture is great at goals—at doing the right things (effectiveness) and doing them the right way (efficiency)—and poor at dancing with things (efficacy).
If we don’t dance with things, we are doing to get punched in the face.
New to the Dao Du Jour? Check out “Day 0.”