Note To Self

Make Plans, God Laughs. Time To Pivot

In her latest Note To Self, FW editor Emily Brooks makes the case for pivoting instead of planning.

By Emily Brooks

Note To Self

In her latest Note To Self, FW editor Emily Brooks makes the case for pivoting instead of planning.

By Emily Brooks

Anyone who knows me, knows I am a planner. And anyone who has broached thirty, knows you grow disillusioned with plans around this point. Not because plans are ineffective or useless; but because over enough time making plans, you begin to realise life is not black and white, but shades of grey. It is not a thing that can be segmented or categorised or broken down into dot points and ticked off each week. Partially, maybe, but never fully. The big moments in life are also never things you plan for. You never plan for an old friend to call and offer you a job in New York. You never plan for that relationship you thought was perfect to break down. (These are not things that have happened to me this year, but to people I love.) But maybe the biggest flaw in the process of planning is that when we write we out our five year plan, or even our two, we expect we will remain the same iteration of ourselves as we move through it. We do not. We evolve, and so too do our perceptions of what we want. As Chance the Rapper said in his song 5 Year Plan, “You gon’ have several revelations in your first five days.”

Plans have been on my mind not just because it’s my birthday, but also because Kanye West released his first gospel album. If someone told us that five years ago, I don’t think anyone would have believed it, let alone Kanye. I certainly don’t think he planned for it. But it is here. He is here. The boy in the pink polo rapping ‘Jesus Walks’ in 2004 (“I ain’t here to argue about his facial features/or here to convert atheists into believers”) is now a devout Christian ready to convert the world. As expected, the internet is up in arms about it. But I will weave around the controversy this morning and focus, instead, on something West said. (That is possible, I think.) In his two-hour long interview with Zane Lowe of Apple Music’s Beats 1 at West’s Wyoming property, the two discussed West’s album, coinciding IMAX film, religious awakening and personal evolution. And in his electric blue polar fleece, West repeated the old Yiddish proverb, ‘Make plans, God laughs’. It stuck with me this week. In this modern life, as we all box in and package up our neat identities to perform them online, we leave little room for unexpected evolution in our personal brands (if we choose to see them) and lives (if we don’t). “People say, ‘Oh this is going to kill your brand.’ But my brand is expressing how I feel, whether it’s in line with what you thought the brand was even two days ago,” West said. “A smart man has the ability to pivot and say ‘I think something different now.’”

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