Why Do We Expect the Worse?

Expecting the worst case scenario or predicting failure is not good for your self-esteem let alone your motivation.

Last week I was in my gym doing 20 minutes on the Cross Trainer, and as is my will, I was listening to some up-beat tracks with my ear buds in. Sometimes you need this to keep going in the gym. I was also watching BBC News on the big screen but in silence, since the sound of Stone Roses “I am the Resurrection” was obliterating the TV sound.

A video of Bob Dylan came on, some old clips from the 60’s, clips from the 70’s. The iconic image of a rock superstar. I immediately thought “Oh no, not another one gone this year. We’ve had David Bowie, Lemmy, Prince, Glenn Frey of the Eagles dying on us, now Bob Dylan”

It was only later I learnt that he hadn’t died but had been awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature.

How wrong was I. And how quickly did I go the pessimist route which did me no favours.

What about you? How quickly do you take the naysayer option which only serves to further depress you?

  • You haven’t heard back from the prospective client in the time they said so you assume the deals off. Fact was he was taken poorly for a couple of days and his workload stiffened.
  • Or the presentation you did last week didn’t get the normal loud round of applause so you think it’s all over, it’s no good, you’ve lost it. Whereas the audience were just a little jaded from sitting in the room for 3 hours before your talk.
  • Or the feedback form only gave you 4 out of 5 rather than 5 out of 5 that you’ve been used to getting.
  • Or your sales results are down over the last couple of weeks so you conclude we’re entering a post Brexit recession so it’s doom and gloom from now on. The fact was your competition had some extremely enticing special offers on during the last two weeks.

It’s easy to take the pessimist route but next time you find yourself doing so, stop, pause and think of a positive outcome. It’s more likely to be true. And thank goodness no more rock star demises this year.