Looking Ahead vs. Planning Ahead

YOLO is probably the most popular acronym right now. YOLO, or You Only Live Once, can be found on t-shirts, bumberstickers, and in the lyrics of songs. This popular motto implies that one should enjoy life and live in the moment.

On the one hand, this can be a very positive message.

Getting people to appreciate life and live in the now is important. Too often people stress themselves out by focusing on a future they can’t control.

But on the other hand, simply saying “YOLO” doesn’t justify taking irresponsible risks or forgetting about the future.

The comedy hip hop group The Lonely Island created a hilarious song parody called “YOLO” in which they take a different spin on the phrase “You Only Live Once.” The song takes a pessimistic view that everything is a threat so always take preventative measures like building a bomb shelter or burying all of your money (If you would like to watch the video, I have included it below).

This got me thinking about a question I’ve struggled with my entire life.

How do you find a balance between looking ahead and planning ahead?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve constantly looked toward the future. I’ve always need to have a plan. I’ve eaten healthy, exercised and saved money so that when I am 60 years old I will have a healthy, well balanced, and stable life.

It would be much easier to eat whatever I want, watch TV all day and blow through my money. The time I spent planning could have been spend having fun.

On the contrary, who’s to say that I’ll even make it to 60? Am I sacrificing my now to plan ahead for a future I may not even be a part of? I often feel that I don’t truly appreciate some experiences because I am looking ahead.

A constant theme in sports is to take one game at a time. Players and coaches always say that they are focused only on the practice or game that is directly ahead of them. They can lose their edge if they look past their currently opponent and think about a game that is weeks away.

But another important theme in sports is to picture yourself at the highest stage. As we talked about last week, it is important to visualize your goals. You can’t become a champion unless you dream of winning that championship game.

See the contradiction? How can you take one game at a time yet also dream of the championship game which could be weeks or years away?

How can you live in the now and also plan for a rainy day?

I am not nearly smart enough to answer those questions, but I did come across a quote that may help.

Late Christian missionary Jim Elliot said, “Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”

If you are at the beach, rocking a YOLO shirt, great! Be all there.

If you are meeting with your financial planner to try and figure out how to pay for your eight year old’s college tuition in ten years, great! Be all there.

God is the ultimate balance scale. Give him your now and your future and he will help you find the right balance.

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