A fish in a stream not only effects the lives of those around it (whether or not there is life necessarily near it, and regardless of it would be on the scale that it would notice, i.e. not bacteria but a visible creature– note: whether it has the capacity to notice, being a fish and so being unaware, doesn’t determine the result) by shifting the water with a wave of its tale, a mindless action akin to breathing, an action that effects the atmosphere and therefore, everything (breathing then, might be the most important thing we do), but also simply by being in the stream the fish has displaced a certain volume of water, causing the level of water to rise and changing the entire state of the world of the water and the world of the land (an analogy explaining perhaps a meaning we can’t fathom, being only a fish confined to water, but the implication is simply that we have meaning beyond what we can fathom… there’s an oceanic pun in “fathom” but I need to chase this thought before I sink). What this means is we have meaning, we matter.
If we matter simply by being, then our inactions matter just as much as our actions. Every breath changes the world. But we are not fish. We are humans. We can decide our actions (or at least attempt to, for the matter of indubitable cognition vs. amalgam of neural reactions and learned behaviors is left to theorists– see the matter of self-deception regarding regret, both the delusion that we might stand by our choice and think it couldn’t be any other way, as well as the opposing falsity that it was a mistake we should have known better than to make). But then, if plans are the ultimate form of effecting change, what should we decide?
The truth is no one knows. It’s up to you to decide what you should decide. Hell, it’s up to you decide who you are (we are shaped by experiences, certainly, but it is our perception that fills in the details) and what you believe matters (for belief in what matters alone has no effect on what matters beyond that it might guide one to make decisions that therein effect what matters). There’s a lot to decide. But that’s where plans come into play.
And I hear you, oh sullen fiend and friend of mine, “But the best laid plans of mice and men…” True, plans almost always lead to unexpected hiccups due to everyone and everything constantly changing everyone and everything– the game of life is constantly having its rules rewritten– but you formed the plan, so you can continue to shape the plan to fit through the holes in the walls you run into.
There are tools available to help you reshape those plans. I’m still trying to find them. But if I had to venture a guess, I think long nights where you think instead of dream help quite a bit.