No metaphor is perfect, of course. They all break down at some point. But, I actually think a GPS system works pretty well. Here are seven ways it corresponds to a life plan.
- A GPS requires you to input your destination. Nothing happens until you decide where you want to go. The same is true of a life plan. It forces you to determine the outcomes in each of your major life categories. This is the first section in the life plan.
- A GPS gets you to your destination faster with less hassle. I am directionally-challenged. Without technical help, I get lost quickly. My TomTom Navigation System gets me to my destination without the stress of trying to figure it out on my own. The same is true of a life plan.
- A GPS gives you constant feedback on your progress. I always know the street I am on, how far I must travel to the next turn, and how far to my ultimate destination. A life plan is similar. It tells me where I am in relation to where I want to go. It provides the context and keeps me oriented.
- A GPS helps you get back on track when you get off. Even with a GPS I take the occasional wrong turn. The system never chides me. It simply tells me what I need to do to get back on track. Same with a life plan. It gives me a reference point, so I know how to get to my destination.
- A GPS re-routes you around roadblocks. It is inevitable that you will encounter obstacles on the way to your destination. A good GPS is able to adjust on the fly and recalculate the route. The same is true of a life plan. It provides the flexibility to overcome obstacles and keep moving forward.
- A GPS is not always accurate. This is not surprising. It’s a challenge for GPS databases to keep up with all the changes: new roads, closed roads, traffic accidents, etc. The same is true of your life plan. You won’t always get it right. You will have to adjust as you encounter reality. A life plan gives you a framework for doing that.
- A GPS requires an investment. I used to pay $12.99 a day for the Hertz Never Lost system on my rental car. It was worth every penny. However, I finally wised up and bought the TomTom app for my iPhone. It was $49.99. It paid for itself quickly. A life plan is similar. It does require an upfront investment of time. But the rewards are well-worth it.
Again, the metaphor is not perfect. It breaks down at several points. But all in all, I think works pretty well. It does its job as a metaphor.