Browsing through descriptions of upcoming ballets came across this strange (to me) descriptor: plotless. What’s the difference between a ballet with plot and one without, I wondered? Is a ballet without a plot as popular as one without? Which one would most interest my daughter?
Lots of things have plots—ballets, plays, books gardens. Most often plot is used in a literary fashion to describe the events that make up a story and how they connect to one another. Plot is also used as a verb, as in when we plot out a journey we plan to take. I suppose one could take a plotless journey. What would that look like? But, could someone write a plotless book?
It got me thinking. What about our lives? Do our lives have plots? Can someone live a plotless life? Would someone want to live a plotless life?
I’ve never heard someone talk about their life plot, but I’ve heard a lot about having goals or a plan for life. Taking some literary liberties, I suppose you could roughly equate a life plot to a masterplan comprised of specific goals. An author devotes considerable energy and time to develop a plot for a story. How much effort are you putting in to developing the plot or master plan for your life?
I’m writing this from 32,000 feet in the air sitting with a few hundred strangers. Everyone is headed someplace. Everyone around me has a life filled with people, places, and activities, including being on this plane with me. Today my life plot intersects with the plot of the strangers around me.
When we have a masterplan for our life we benefit in many ways.
· We figure out what is most important to us.
· We gain clarity for how to go forward.
· A plan keeps us accountable to ourselves, to others, and to our purpose.
· A plan motivates, especially when we run into rough spots.
· A plan can inspire us to go farther, climb higher, and be the best person we are capable of being.
When we have a masterplan, we have the structure to develop smaller plots or goals for life. Consider, for example, what goals you have for various areas in your life—career, family, education, community, spiritual, or financial. Consider also that life has various stages with each one requiring changes from the last—childhood, teens, young adult, middle and older adult. All of these benefit from developing goals that fit into one’s masterplan for life.
When I was growing up my father always kept a small card with in his shirt pocket. On it he wrote various goals. He would regularly take it out, cross something out or add something. The card was a small, but specific part of his masterplan. If you looked at the cards, you could tell what was important to him, what he was capable of doing, what he enjoyed doing, and what responsibilities he had. You could even tell how important his marriage was to him because on each and every card he always included this item: “Kiss my wife.”
Here’s a great mnemonic for developing subplots goals for various
parts of life:
· S Specific or significant
· M Measurable or meaningful
· A Attainable or action oriented
· R Relevant or rewarding
· T Trackable or time bound
Back to the ballet. I could see from the seat availability chart that the plotless ballet was still pretty popular. I might even buy tickets and take my daughter. I think we would enjoy it.
While I do believe it is important to have a plot for our lives, there’s something to be said for including plenty of spontaneity as well. I think it can even be part of the plot, if you will. Simply sitting back and enjoying the form of life itself has benefit. After all, life is a gift. And, life is good. Make the best of yours.