Every day upon awakening, you have a a conscious or unconscious plan. Even if you don’t have an “official” plan, you still have a plan because not having a plan IS still a plan. An ancient Proverb states that, “He who fails to plan, plans to fail,” but is that true?
The Ant And The Grasshopper
I’m guessing that it might have been awhile since you’ve read the fable by Aesop called The Ant And The Grasshopper, so let me help refresh your memory…
In a field one summer’s day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart’s content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.
“Why not come and chat with me,” said the Grasshopper, “instead of toiling and moiling in that way?”
“I am helping to lay up food for the winter,” said the Ant, “and recommend you to do the same.”
“Why bother about winter?” said the Grasshopper; “we have got plenty of food at present.”
But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil. When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food, and found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer.
Then the Grasshopper knew: “It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.”
Aesop Knew The Long Road
I’ve often heard that planning takes all the spontaneity out of living. Personally, I think that is just rubbish. Aesop would probably say that statement was a foolish man’s way of thinking and living. Maybe you can’t relate to The Ant And The Grasshopper because you aren’t an insect, so let me help you out.
Did you go to high school, technical school or college?
Do you set the alarm on a clock so that you wake up at a certain time each day?
Do you take food out of the freezer to unthaw while you are working, so that you can prepare it for dinner?
Do you write a grocery list?
Do you keep track of the date and/or mileage of your last oil change?
Do you calculate your bank balance regularly?
Have you already set the dates of your next vacation?
If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, then you planned. The reason you plan is so that life will go more smoothly and be happy. Planning brings about peace because it circumvents chaos.
The grasshopper just wanted to play all day – THAT was his plan. He took no thought of what might happen tomorrow. I think the grasshopper was very selfish. He had lived long enough to know that winter would come and that food he was going to need some food. The grasshopper, though subconsciously, was banking on getting handouts from the ant who worked steadily through the summer to ensure that winter would not create a hardship in his life.
HOWEVER – surely you knew there was a catch – if a flood or tornado had whipped through the ant’s storehouse, he would have lost all the fruits from his summer labors. Therefore, he would not have been prepared for the winter either. That’s where Plan B comes into action.
In order to be successful on the long road of life, we have to be flexible with our plans, goals and dreams. Change and other people’s right to choose will affect our lives both positively and negatively. You need to have Plan A and Plan B, C, D and maybe even Plan F! Being prepared is essential to enjoying a peaceful, happy and successful life.
Aesop understood the importance of working towards a goal according to the plan. The prepared ant was warm and fed while the grasshopper was cold and hungry.
Now you might be thinking that sometimes our plans don’t work out even though we work hard to be successful. Well, after the tornado takes your dreams up into a cloud with it, go ahead and cry, but then dry your eyes and keep planning, dreaming and trying. That’s where a prepared AND compassionate ant comes into the story. If you have done everything you can do and bad times or poor choice consequences happen, people who love you should step in to help. That’s what love is all about – right?
(Of course, you know I’m not talking about people who just use you on purpose over and over again.)