I often come up with ideas to write about in batches. Those ideas sustain my ability to write a blog a week for sometimes several months. The idea for this blog came to me after an especially difficult set of events where I was completing a series of tests, each of which carried a long list of requirements. It was really challenging, especially that last one; and it was the above mantra that saw me through: Plan for the worst, expect the best.
That mantra helped me because when things get especially difficult, I often find myself thinking the opposite: Plan for the best, expect the worst. I would buoy myself up by fantasies that everything was fine and then, just as often, things wouldn’t go well, ending my day with the thought “How did this happen again!”. I actually expected the worst, even though I’d planned for the best.
That kind of thinking is called a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The saying in therapy is, for something to change, do something – anything – different. I began to put my imagination to better use than staying in fantasy: I began to imagine what winning would look like; and that led me to the realization that in order to win, I had to be prepared for anything.
Now I expect to win, which means I come prepared for anything.
The surprising science of happiness
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Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist. To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .