“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” Benjamin Franklin
I wonder if you have ever spent a few days in hospital? I have been in hospital for 7-10 days a few times in my life and have always been interested in how difficult it was to plan the simplest things when I came home. What has always struck me is how, even after a very short time of dependency, one immediately loses the ability to think, problem-solve, plan and make decisions. It can feel quite a relief not to have to think about small daily decisions such as what and when to eat, what to wear, what to do, how to spend or save one’s money, etc. But lack of practice incapacitates us. And just imagine how much more so if one has been in prison, in mental hospital, or the services for extended periods, where one’s life is organised by others. How hard to adjust to making those daily decisions again. How important to re-engage one’s executive brain and develop once more the ability to be independent of others and manage one’s own life.
It is not surprising that many ex-service people end up on our streets, homeless. Nor that many mental hospitals and prisons become a revolving door where people exit but all-too-often return. People do need help to plan their lives, their health, their work, their finance and their relationships. It doesn’t happen automatically, particularly when you haven’t had to use that part of the brain for a period of time. I believe the importance of planning skills is underestimated. Without planning people have no route to success.
This applies in so many areas of life. I was talking recently to a friend who works in a food bank. The food banks were set up as an emergency resource but those running them are finding that some people can become habitual users of the service. So some food banks now offer help with learning to budget and take control of the small details of expenditure, so as to prevent the building up of dependency.