What if Everything Goes Right?

This article was originally published on riskology.co

Image by: Thai Jasmine

You know that old saying, “Hope for the best, but plan for the worst?” I completely disagree. I say, “Hope for the best and plan for it, too.”

That probably sounds like unrealistic dreamland to a lot of people, but consider it a second. What if, instead of spending all your time wondering how terrible life will be if everything goes wrong, you visualize how great it will be if it all goes right?

If we’re going to live a little dangerously, I think we need to stop wasting our time planning for every worst case scenario. In almost any risk you take, the likelihood of actually winding up in the worst case scenario is incredibly low. Spending all of your time and energy preparing for it is wasted.

The worst case scenario in any situation is death. That’s the very end of the line. Better to recognize that and take a few precautionary steps to avoid it rather than spend a lot of energy planning out every other less than desirable outcome. If you don’t die, you can recover from it. Simple as that. And that’s something you can figure out when you get to it.

You see, the real danger in planning for the worst is twofold:

1) It stops you from even trying.

It’s scary to think about everything that could go wrong on your mission, but your lizard brain is more than happy to let you do it anyway.

It knows that if it can get you to dwell on the worst case scenario long enough, you won’t even considering the idea of getting started. Of course, that makes your lizard brain very happy because it’s exhausting for it to spend so much time getting you through a dangerous situation. It would much rather you just didn’t try. If it has it’s way, you won’t.

2) It’s a self fulfilling prophecy.

Have you ever noticed that you typically get what you plan for? Maybe not exactly, but pretty close? The plans we make and expectations we set tend to be self fulfilling prophecies.

If you spend all your time figuring out how to avoid life’s pitfalls, that’s probably what you’ll end up spending most of your time doing — avoiding pitfalls. You completely kneecap any possibility of truly succeeding by spending all your time figuring out how “not to fail.”

What if, instead of focusing your energy on figuring out how not to fail, you made a strategy for incredible success? Instead of asking yourself, “What if everything goes wrong?,” you ask yourself, “What if everything goes right?” That’s a lot more likely to get you excited about your ideas and get you not only acting on them, but acting on them in a way that will breed success rather than failure.

  • What if you quit your job and find your real life purpose?
  • What if you take that big trip and meet all the people you wish you’d met years ago?
  • What if you start that business and actually make money faster than you expected?
  • What if you take on that big challenge and actually succeed?

I know this is a hard sell for a lot of people, but I’ve seen it over and over again in my own life. I quit the construction industry and realized that writing is what brings me alive. I started Riskology.co and it’s grown hundreds of times faster than I ever expected. I ran a marathon faster than I thought I could and climbed a mountain on the first try.

Sure, all sorts of things could have gone wrong and I definitely planned for a few of them, but the real reason I’ve been as lucky as I have been is because I actually got started and followed through. And the reason I did that? Because I allowed myself to wonder, “What if everything goes right?”

Tyler Tervooren founded Riskology.co, where he shares research and insights about mastering your psychology by taking smarter risks. For more, join his Smart Riskologist Newsletter.

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