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Tim Ferriss: Here's why you should throw out your five-year plan

Tim Ferriss
Travis P Ball | SXSW | Getty Images
Tim Ferriss

It may be scary not to know where you're going in life. But it may also mean that you're going to be more successful.

Charting a life plan and sticking dogmatically to it is fundamentally limiting, according to Tim Ferriss, entrepreneur and author of bestselling book "The 4-Hour Workweek."

"If you stick to a plan very fastidiously, you are not going to be able to adapt to new opportunities that present themselves," Ferriss tells CNBC.

After his blockbuster first book, Ferriss went on to write two more in the same series: "The 4-Hour Body" and "The 4-Hour Chef." He also launched a successful podcast, "The Tim Ferriss Show," and starred in a television program, "The Tim Ferriss Experiment."

Responding to success and building upon it isn't possible within a fixed path, says Ferriss.

"To have a five- or 10-year plan that you follow to a T means that you have to aim below your maximum capabilities because you will have to minimize the risk," he says. "To be absolutely sure that you can follow it, you would have to sell yourself short. You would have to choose options that are safe and so far within your sphere of comfort that there is a low likelihood of anything going sideways."

Committing to a long-term plan means, as a matter of course, that you do what you have previously decided you will do. New opportunities that fly in the face of that plan are rejected.

Of course, being flexible and open to opportunities is not an excuse for being disorganized and irresponsible. To the contrary, Ferriss says that he is disciplined in the day-to-day organization of his life, employees and business goals.

"I do plan. I am very methodical, and I have metrics and goals and quarterly objectives," he says. "But I do not have a 10-year plan that I am trying to stick to."

Instead, Ferriss plans out his future in short bursts, giving him time to explore new ventures and change course based on his experiences.

"I like pushing myself to the limit and pushing the envelope, and in my mind that is not really compatible with a reliable long-term plan," says Ferriss. "I generally treat my life as six-month projects and two-week experiments of various types. Then I take the most attractive door that pops up, and rinse and repeat."