Planning for future events is a central plank of UK economic policy. Insurance, saving, and education are all predicated on future security and happiness. But does the cost of planning the future destroy mental health in the present?
Government, parents and teachers have, in general, a common conviction. Citizens, children and pupils need to plan for the future. For those who are not planners by nature, such statements can feel stressful. They can create unnecessary pressure on how people live life each day.
Are mental health issues caused by not planning? Or does planning the future in fine detail cause mental health issues? There are no answers at the time of writing.
These are hypocritical questions. Business schools and self-claimed gurus espouse the benefits of business plans. It is important to remember that they have skin in the game. They make their money from teaching business plan formulas.
Planning is not a bad thing to do. Plans are also not crystal balls. The best plans do not know what the future will bring. Newspapers and television news was all-powerful in 2000. By 2010 the news industry was having to completely reinvent itself. News in 2020 would be almost unimaginable to a 1970s journalist.
Advertisers pile on the pressure to sell products. Buy exam-improving pills. Commit to a 30-year mortgage. Start a family. Contribute to a pension. Don’t forget the all-important life insurance policy!
Advertisers tap into fears of inadequacy. Products rarely fulfil the claimed advertised promise. Purchase a subsequent top-up product and then it will all be better is the claim. For advertising agencies, life planning entails striving for more things.
Capitalism Builds A Better Future?
Some of the UK’s older residents will say as well as demonstrate, a life planned is a better life. Others will point to regret. Life did not turn out as they intended. For some, there is a sanguine acceptance for others deep bitterness. (Also see Brexit post for more).
Capitalism, the system under which we all slave, relies heavily on people buying into a better future. The definition of ‘better’ will be some material gain. Purchase of a new phone, shirt, sofa, or car.
Life Is Haphazard
Life by its very nature is haphazard. The amount of variables all living creatures need to negotiate everyday makes it none other. It is possible to plan for an accident although the consequences of breaking a leg could be beyond anything that can actually be imagined when it happens.
Is planning the future paramount to living a happy, fulfilling life? Does the time involved in planning involve missing the present? When plans don’t work out, what is the mental impact on an individual?
This journey is partly to understand whether life plans are a good idea. And whether business plans are worth the effort. Through conversation and blog posts, some of these questions might get an answer. It is important to understand whether pressure to plan long-term is contributing to rising mental health issues in Britain? If planning is a source of stress, maybe it is time for a new approach.