Some of us have goals in life. Some have the plan to reach them, or to handle stuff.
Sometimes it works exactly as the plan, we reach the goal and we are happy. Sometimes it works exactly as the plan, and we end up unhappy.
Often it doesn’t work as per the plan. (There’s really no sure-fire method to making this work, is there?)
Often we find ourselves frustrated.
“Things are not going as planned.”
“I haven’t met my goals yet! I am a loser!”
“Why did this have to happen now? It was so not in the plan!”
I found myself having a series of these conversations last week.
Co-founder, Abhinav and one of the team members, Nilanjana were having a discussion, and I happened to become a part of it. The discussion was about the current challenges being faced by her. And by the end of it I heard myself say, “You seem to have had a plan. And now things are not going as per the plan. In fact it has nicely blown up in your face, or so it seems. My guess is you are hung upon the plan going exactly as you want it to go. Can you loosen up your hold on it? Allow the plan some space to breathe and let it take its course?”
“In other words,” I said, “You know, be detached from the plan’s evolution?”
I was trying not to bring the Bhagavad Gita reference which many of us have grown up hearing: ‘Do your duty without any attachment to the results of your action.’ The last thing I want to do in the workplace is bring up stuff that has any reference to religion or spirituality. Especially to a team of millennials.
And like a true millennial, she responded, “You mean like decoupled architecture?” (She has been writing on decoupled Drupal architecture, hence the question. Separate the backend from the fronted, so both have the freedom to do their job in the best possible way). Millennials can make innovative connections that will never occur to a GenXer like me.
I said, “Yeah, like that.”
Decouple your aspirations from how they should work out. Have a plan, but don’t get married to it.
And thus, we stumbled upon the term, Decoupled Aspirations.
Abhinav listened to the conversation, and later told me that the idea stuck in his mind too. He has read the Gita, but somehow this term got through to him better.
I had forgotten that I had talked about the very same concept to a friend, also a GenXer, a few days earlier. She replied, a day after this Decoupled Aspirations conversation at work. She said it made sense to her. And i responded, “Yeah, only, we now call it Decoupled Aspirations.”
She called up immediately to chat excitedly, because “the term spoke to her”.
Well, in two days, three people had understood a difficult concept just because we put a different term to it. And a day later, the friend used the same idea to explain something to her 10 year old who sat crying that she wasn’t going to win the student election! It calmed her down.
Wonder why this is happening, this instant understanding? My guess is that decoupling gives a sense of separation of two things, and that leads to creation of some space. And maybe the idea of the space created gives the relief one is looking for. And the room for comprehension.