The Optimism of Pessimism

Sounds like a bullshit title, right? Aren’t those opposites?

Well, kinda like how if you go to the far left of the political spectrum it starts to exhibit the same behaviors as the far right as both become totalitarian, or how the color spectrum turns on itself to form the color wheel, I’ve found you can roll pessimism into optimism too.

It’s like this: what’s the worst that could happen if I took action X? Let your imagination run insane. You’ll come up with a crazy list, most of which you can immediately rule out as “not actually going to happen.” For what is left, you will find that giving a voice to your pessimism and fear sheds a different light on things.

And chances are you’ll find the worst case scenario will not faze you at all. And in fact often that worst case scenario upon examination proves to be an improvement over the current situation – after all, if it wasn’t, if things really were as good as they could ever be, you wouldn’t be looking to change anything.

If the worst thing about walking out the door is being alone for a while or even the rest of your life, do you stay in a stifling marriage?

If the worst thing that will happen to you upon quitting a job that’s become untenable is you find a better one, do you really stay out of inertia? What if the worst thing is you get an extended vacation to live off investments, write a book, work on music, and gradually build a consulting practise?

Call their bluff and take the plunge.