Saturday, August 30, 2014

Expect the Best

There's a saying that goes something like 'Hope for the best, but expect the worst'.  I guess it's supposed to be practical advice, but I think it's somewhat depressing.  However, I think this is what most people, including myself, have trained their brains to do.  Many people (totally me) are worriers.  When faced with any kind problem/situation/etc our minds immediately jump to worst case scenario, instead of best case scenario.  Why is that?  I'm not sure but it seems it's tied to evolutionary survival. 

I came across an article this week that talked about the psychological phenomenon of the 'negativity bias'.  Basically, our minds have a greater recall and tendency to focus on negative experiences rather than positive ones.  In real life, this can mean we are having a great day - work is going great, you had little moments with the kids that just made you laugh and smile, made every green light on the way home, had an exhilarating outdoor run - and then get home only to discover our cat has peed on the sofa.  (Ughhhhhhhhhhhh yeah, that happened.)  Which event do you think we focus on?  Are we grateful for all the wonderful experiences we had that day, or do we immediately get pi$$ed off (haha pun intended) because of one thing that went wrong?  Yeah, we focus only on that one negative experience.

I guess in terms of survival as a species, preparing for the worst and focusing on the negative experiences help us learn and continue to propagate, but in terms of actually 'living' and fulfilling the promise of the very short time you are given on this planet, I think we have to re-train our brains to focus on the positive.


The truth is, I had planned to sit down and write this post on Thursday, until I actually went to do so, and sat directly in a wet spot on my sofa.  BAM reality hits.  I actually think it was a test from the Universe.  You see in recent days, there were several instances where I of course was imagining worst-case scenario and then things turned out so much better than expected.  In fact, Thursday I got some news that some time ago would have sent me spinning into panic mode.  And perhaps it did for a few seconds, but it was like something had changed and when I got that news, all I started to see were the infinite number of possibilities that might just open up before me.  When one door closes, another opens right?  So even after that little wrench in my plans, I was still feeling inspired.  That is until I sat down to blog and upon discovering my cat's silent but wet protest to me being out of town for 5 days, my mind went straight to negative-town.  In fact, it stayed there for awhile and thus I didn't blog that night.  Nope, I ruminated on all the work cleaning, washing, sanitizing, enzyming and de-smelling this would entail on my part, and all but forgot the good lessons and amazing feelings I was having earlier in the week and that day.

And then Friday I woke up and thought 'Why am I wasting precious moments of my life focusing on this tiny little annoyance?!'.  How ridiculous!  The souls who have already passed onto the next life were surely looking down and giggling at me.  The thing is, I am here on this earth to connect with other living souls (human or animal), not couches...or shirts, or shoes, or cars, or any other number of material things.  They're meaningless.  And so I decided then and there to not let this incident consume any more minutes of my day or life.  I hung out with a friend on Friday night, drinking wine and riding a ferris wheel (good combo) and this morning I am finally blogging and laundering.  And all is as it should be.


If you think about your life, and all the thousands of times you've worried about 'worst case scenarios', in how many instances did the actual WORST thing happen?  If you're still here, breathing, living, and existing on this planet, then the answer is probably rarely, if ever.  Sometimes dire things do happen - disasters, illness - but even if the worst thing DID happen, you are still here.  Do you see how amazing that is?  The absolute worst thing that could happen, did, and you made it through.  So you have actual proof now that you can make it through anything life throws at you!  I went through a lot of crap in recent years that I thought I would NEVER make it through (end of a relationship, losing a job) but I'm still here.  Though I may have thought so at the time, these things are the not the worst a person can experience in life.  I failed to see that I still had my health, my family, my friends and my good and loving spirit.  Today I am happier and dare I say even healthier, because I CHOSE happiness.  I chose to work at it even when it was hard and even when I wanted to give up (so many times).

So, I say, why not Expect the Best.  What's the worst that could happen?!? (The humor never stops here.)

No questions today - just comment if you feel so inspired.


  1. I like to say that I am an "optimistic realist"--I like to hope for best, fret for the worst for a time, but ultimately, know that there is only so much that I can do. And "what I can do" is as big or as little as I want it to be, and it only goes so far. So hope, expect, prepare for anything and everything--know that all are possibilities.

  2. Amen!!! Love this jill! As you know, i definitely get so mad at little things. But i love my life so so much, i feel so lucky and happy. It is so pointless to let little things get to me, i need to remember to be patient. Take a few deep breaths, look at the big picture, you know, instead of freak out!! Thanks for the reminder!

  3. Great post. :) I've fought my way back from several worst-case scenarios before too, and I'm still here to tell about them!

  4. I feel like this post could have been written by me. I can totally relate to everything you've written! I'm noticing that after years of working at being less reactive I'm finally starting to notice a you, I still react at first. Sometimes just for a few seconds, and sometimes for up to an hour. But I'm getting better at the whole "in the big scheme of things..." thing. And it feels really good :)

    Thanks for the inspiration!