Jumping into the unknown with something that's calling your heart is scary. Like quitting your job to become an entrepreneur, or asking a crush out on a date, or expressing yourself through art. It's common practice to tell people struggling with this fear to ask themselves: what's the worst that could happen? And while the question certainly can reframe the fear and give you the courage you need to take the leap, it might have a surprising and detrimental side effect: a tendency to apply the question to everything, and expect that very worst thing to happen all the time.
Expecting the worst to happen at all times, whenever you do something - be it making a cup of coffee, driving through the city, calling your dad - will not only paralyze you into inaction, but also drastically increase the odds of that very worst thing happening.
The reason for this is that if you focus on everything that could go wrong, your mind starts to create paths for you to get there. When you concentrate on a particular outcome, your brain thinks that's where you want to go; it doesn't know you'd actually want to go somewhere else. It thinks it's doing its job correctly. It doesn't even consider creating other paths.
So if it's this easy to get to the worst possible outcome, why not make it as easy to get to the best possible outcome? Just start expecting things to go exceptionally well every time you do anything, and your mind creates a path there.
...and probably easier said than done.
To master this level of optimism, you need to be (or become) aware of your thoughts and thought patterns. You have to unlearn some of the things you took for granted. And you must actively teach this new attitude to your conscious and subconscious brain.
It's a big task. Here's how to start:
- Create a morning routine in which you envision the day ahead and imagine how it will turn out in the best possible way. What will you do? How will it feel? How will your good luck manifest itself?
- Write yourself a note reminding you to expect the best possible outcome (using your own words). Fold it up, put it in your pocket, and read it several times a day.
- Create a mantra that will remind you of your excellent luck. Say the mantra to yourself whenever you need a pick-me-up.
- Set your phone to remind you a couple of times during the day to take a few minutes to list everything wonderful that has already happened to you during the day so far.
- In the evening, write all the amazing things that happened to you that day in a special journal.
When you do all these, your mind will actually start to believe that you have excellent luck and that everything always works out for the best for you. You won't even notice instances of so-called "bad luck" anymore - in fact, you'll probably interpret those as good luck as well, in some way or another!
Come on, try it. What's the best that could happen?
P.S. You can also read my book, How to Become an Optimist: A Practical Guide for Making Yourself Happier, More Successful, and Stress–Free.