It’s often thought that planning stifles creativity. We explore how the opposite is true and how planning can not only turn your dreams into reality but how to make sure they add value to your life.

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Picasso’s art has been described as a vivid depiction of what it means to be alive. Art evokes emotion – the point of it is to make you feel. Whether that feeling is one of discomfort or joy, the intention is to make you connect with something; to push yourself to think and explore. Picasso’s work is a celebration of freedom, spontaneity, creativity, and an exuberant enjoyment of life. He didn’t follow the conventional rules of what it meant to paint or sculpt. He defied every rule in the book and constructed a universe of perspectives, philosophy, and ideas that stretched the very limitations of what it means to be an artist.

Pablo Picasso was a rebel at heart.

Yet, for someone who was such a carefree and creative soul, he was not one to stick his head in the sand and let life take him where it will. In perhaps a seemingly uncharacteristic twist, he planned his life. Picasso is famously quoted as saying, “Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”

It is often thought that when you plan your life, you are stifling the chance for creativity and killing spontaneity, but Picasso proves that this is the opposite. In fact, planning inspires you to have the courage to dream. It allows you to put actionable plans in place to make those dreams a reality.

“What one does is what counts and not what one had the intention of doing.” – Pablo Picasso

Why do people avoid planning?

Simply put, humans tend to avoid the things that will bring them pain and hardship. When you plan your life, it’s of utmost importance that you take a very close and honest look at not only who you are but what you’ve done with your life up to this point. And if you haven’t planned your life, you’re left with real, hard-hitting questions. Have I wasted my life? If only I had planned earlier, I wouldn’t be in this position. It’s rather scary to take stock of your life. We must be brave. 

But what is bravery? It doesn’t mean that you’re not afraid – it’s being afraid but doing the scary thing anyway. That’s what courage is – the ability to push through the fear and make that change. It’s never too late to start planning. As a popular Chinese proverb reminds us: the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago; the second-best time is today.

See also: Decisions, decisions – how to make the big ones.

How do we measure success?

According to Picasso, there is no other route to success but to put plans in place that will help us reach our goals. But how do we do this practically? According to a popular goal-setting theory developed by Edwin Locke in 1968, setting specific and measurable goals is most effective. Anyone who has ever done research about goal setting has come across the concept of SMART goals. It’s not an earth-shattering concept, but it’s one that is a tried-and-true method of reaching your goals.

What makes a SMART goal?

For a goal to be SMART, it needs to be:

Specific – Make your goal as specific as possible. Losing weight is a very vague goal. Losing 10kg is a more specific goal that can be measured. This way you know exactly where the finish line is.

Measurable – When your goal is measurable, you’re able to see your progress and this is a great motivator. Set criteria relevant to your goal to keep yourself accountable.

Achievable – You need to be realistic when setting a goal. If you set yourself a goal that is too far reaching, you will be demotivated to achieve it.

Relevant – Each of your short- and medium-term goals should be relevant and align with your values and contribute to your long-term goals.

Time-based – Lastly, your goals should be time-based and have an end date. A goal that is not time-bound is just a dream.

See also: Choosing the right advice to follow: How to select a trusted adviser.

A different view of success

There is an alternate way to think about measuring success. While success if often measured in achieving our goals, a different way of thinking should be considered: living according to your values. Values bring meaning to our lives and are the basis for the choices we make in life. They act as directions that we use in life in order to have a meaningful existence. While a goal is something that that we aim for and tick off once we have accomplished it, values contribute to who you are as a person. Owning a home is a goal but being responsible is a value. You can engage in responsible behavior each day that may lead to achieving your goal and continue to live that value even after you have achieved the goal.

When the goal lacks a value behind it, then the only measure of success becomes achievement. And while achievements give us a sense of accomplishment, this is a hollow victory if you’re not growing as a person. If we want our goals to have true meaning, we have to make sure they align with the values we hold dear.

When the way you behave and the goals you set match your values, you will find that you are satisfied and content. But when these don't align with your personal values, things feel wrong and it can be a source of unhappiness. That’s why it’s important to find a business to partner with who shares your values to help you reach meaningful goals.

Sable International's values

At Sable International our values are simple but powerful: Care, Solve, Grow and Enjoy.

We care deeply about the needs and well-being of our clients and it’s important for us to create a relationship with our clients where we can collaborate and learn from one another.

Our mission is to solve, through providing innovative, creative and personalised solutions to all our clients.

We help our clients to grow their own wealth and businesses while extending our influence in as many areas and expertise as possible.

We are also in business to enjoy ourselves. We have an energised and lively working culture which translates to the way we do business. All of our consultants are passionate about their areas of expertise and love serving our clients.

See also: Moving abroad? Let the experts help you plan for it.

From financial planning and analysis to business expansion: Explore your options

With Sable International’s Explore Report, we help you understand the value of planning. Together we’ll review your current circumstances (such as your financial status or your family history) which will help to determine whether you have a claim to alternative citizenship or whether your children will be able to study abroad.

We understand that considering your global options can be overwhelming – sometimes to the point of inertia. The goal of the Explore Report is to minimise that overwhelm; to arm you with knowledge – knowledge that will empower you to take the initiative of setting a plan in place for your life going forward.

When you review your life in terms of the facts and figures, and then combine this information with the values you’re looking to cultivate, you’re on track to set attainable goals that that will shape your tomorrows in a positive way.

Understanding your options and planning accordingly is the first logical step in creating a Picasso masterpiece of your life. After all: “Knowledge is life with wings.” – William Blake

(With additional contribution by Zayaan Schroeder)

For over two decades we have been advising a wide range of personal and business clients. Our areas of expertise include nationality, wealth management, accounting, tax and international money transfers. Giving our clients the best possible customer experience is at the heart of what we do.

Sable Explore offers a full-scale assessment of your current circumstances and goals. We have over 20 years’ experience in international citizenship that you will have at your disposal to understand your options, draw up your unique plan and implement it. Get in touch at +27 21 657 1507 or

We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you'll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.