habit zero #153

one thing I observed


I planned to start earlier, but it took me more time than I had expected to find a parking space. I had to drive to a nearby parking lot, and so I started my photo walk in a different spot than the one I had planned to. Then, when I began to walk, I found myself at a dead-end — a construction site I couldn’t cross. I had to walk back five minutes and start over, trying to find a place I could pass.

In short, nothing was going as planned.

Twenty minutes later, in a small street, I hadn’t visited for quite some time, I found this storefront, with nothing but a curtain, and no sign suggesting what products or services it offered. But one thing caught my attention apart from the colorful curtain: a black cat sitting in front of the door. It was guarding the entrance as if it is the only one who knows what goes on inside. I slowly pointed my camera and started to approach when the cat stood up. I thought I am going to lose the opportunity for a great capture, but then it stretched in a long, slow movement.

At that second, the cat’s silhouette became much more interesting. Its curved body clashed perfectly with the stripes of the curtain, and with the curve of the car reflected in the window. The scene became much more alive. It was everything I could wish for.

one thing I thought of


For a long time, planning was an essential part of my life. Or, it was a necessary part of anything I did. Or at least I meant it to be. I can’t say that now it isn’t, but with time I realized the beauty and magic of an unplanned space — a space for things to happen.

The encounter I captured above was obviously not planned. But more than that, if I had managed to follow my plan, I would have missed it.

Chance and coincidences play a significant role in Creativity. We might like to think about Creativity as the result of a repeatable, planned process, but in fact, it relies significantly on the random things we encounter. We can encounter great surprises even when we have everything planned — there’s no need to step forward blindfolded without any plan. But, when things don’t go as planned, even if they seem like setbacks at first, we will greatly benefit from accepting them — flowing with them instead of fighting them.

We can also take this idea further and intentionally leave space for unplanned things to happen. Leave part of what needs to be done deliberately unplanned. Plan to be surprised.

one thing to go


  • When something unexpected happens, even if it looks like a setback, embrace it — examine what happens mindfully and look for opportunities.
  • In any plan, leave some space for unplanned surprises.


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