Dump The “Go with the flow” Philosophy in 2021 - New Study Looks At The Benefits of Planning Ahead

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A recent study by PsychTests.com reveals that people who plan ahead are more self-motivated, resilient, and optimistic than people who take things as they come.

Planning ahead for “just in case” situations is less stressful than going with the flow.

Going with the flow in life is not as easy nor as relaxing as it sounds.

Many ‘go-with-the-flow-ers’ are not as carefree and serene as their philosophy implies.

Adversity has often been likened to a choppy, fast-flowing river: Rather than trying to go against the current and battling forces that can’t be changed, it seems more sensible to simply go with the flow, in the hopes that eventually, things will slow down and safer shores will be reached. It’s a sound philosophy, but it may not be as Zen as it appears, according to recent study conducted by PsychTests.com. In fact, people who go with the flow in life are less hardy and less happy than people who plan ahead.

Analyzing data from 12, 259 people who took the Emotional Intelligence Test, PsychTests’ researchers assessed the attitude, personality, and behaviors of people who plan ahead in all aspects of their life (“Planners”) and those who don’t (“Flow-ers”). Here is where they differed the most:

(Note: Scores range on a scale from 0 to 100. Average scores for each group are shown.)



  • Score for Planners: 77
  • Score for Flow-ers: 64

Coping Skills

  • Score for Planners: 73
  • Score for Flow-ers: 63


  • Score for Planners: 78
  • Score for Flow-ers: 68

Ability to let go of minor annoyances

  • Score for Planners: 85
  • Score for Flow-ers: 75

Positive Mindset

  • Score for Planners: 71
  • Score for Flow-ers: 56



  • Score for Planners: 68
  • Score for Flow-ers: 53


  • Score for Planners: 83
  • Score for Flow-ers: 73


  • Score for Planners: 71
  • Score for Flow-ers: 51


  • Score for Planners: 77
  • Score for Flow-ers: 56



  • Score for Planners: 67
  • Score for Flow-ers: 51

Knowing and living by one’s values

  • Score for Planners: 81
  • Score for Flow-ers: 69

Excessive Rumination

  • Score for Planners: 43
  • Score for Flow-ers: 59


  • Score for Planners: 76
  • Score for Flow-ers: 55


  • Score for Planners: 67
  • Score for Flow-ers: 55


In contrast, life seems to be much more of a struggle for Flow-ers:

  • 20% of Flow-ers don’t learn from their failures (compared to 4% of Planners).
  • 34% are not comfortable making decisions on their own (compared to 16% of Planners).
  • 52% have a hard time coming up with their top three strengths (compared to 24% of Planners).
  • 34% are high-strung (compared to 26% of Planners).
  • 50% are pessimists (compared to 29% of Planners).
  • 50% refuse to get their hopes up because they are afraid of being disappointed (compared to 25% of Planners).
  • 45% indicated that they are terrified of what the future holds (compared to 34% of Planners).
  • 37% feel that their life is just one problem after another (compared to 12% of Planners).

“The past year exposed the world to more than just a virus. It also revealed the general unpreparedness of many governments, and people, to cope with a health crisis and its ensuing fallout,” explains Dr. Jerabek, president of PsychTests. “There is an upside to such circumstances, however: a better understanding of what is required to manage the physical, financial, social, and psychological impact of a pandemic. So while a ‘go-with-the-flow,’ laissez faire attitude can sometimes be helpful in a crisis - acceptance is better than fighting a situation you can’t control - an even better approach would be to strategize in order to find a solution, and plan ahead should the issue arise again. Besides, as our study has revealed, many ‘go-with-the-flow-ers’ are not as carefree and serene as their philosophy implies.”

“For 2021, we suggest that people add three resolutions to their list: 1) to prepare a 5-year plan that details what they want to accomplish personally and/or professionally, 2) to prepare a crisis plan should they face a health or financial predicament, and 3) to develop their coping skills and resilience. This isn’t about panicking or being paranoid, it’s about being proactive, mitigating risks, and helping people adapt to their circumstances with greater ease and less stress. We need to learn from our experiences of the past year - not just the COVID-related ones - and use the wisdom we have gained to plan out a better future.”

Want to assess your EQ? Check out https://testyourself.psychtests.com/testid/3979

Professional users, such as HR managers, coaches, and therapists, can request a free demo for this or other assessments from ARCH Profile’s extensive battery: http://hrtests.archprofile.com/testdrive_gen_1

To learn more about psychological testing, download this free eBook: http://hrtests.archprofile.com/personality-tests-in-hr

About PsychTests AIM Inc.
PsychTests AIM Inc. originally appeared on the internet scene in 1996. Since its inception, it has become a pre-eminent provider of psychological assessment products and services to human resource personnel, therapists and coaches, academics, researchers and a host of other professionals around the world. PsychTests AIM Inc. staff is comprised of a dedicated team of psychologists, test developers, researchers, statisticians, writers, and artificial intelligence experts (see ARCHProfile.com).

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Ilona Jerabek
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