Practical Pessimism


Sometimes a lack of confidence can help.

Hope is a great quality and it is no doubt that your optimism towards what is possible has led you to where you are today. But pessimism about the future has a necessary place in your life and business too.

Optimism rules when anticipating (predicting) and enjoying outcomes — but there’s also great value in being pessimistic when preparing (considering) outcomes. After all, things don’t always go ‘our way’.

Call it ‘worst-case scenario’ planning.

Take time to identify your greatest fears about an undertaking. Develop a scenario for how you would deal with the fear if it became reality.

For example, when starting Elastic Mind I was afraid that I wouldn’t make a sustainable living as a writer and web consultant. So, I developed a ‘worst-case scenario’ plan that allowed me to keep doing what I love and make more money, if needed. I determined I would go back to school for counseling and I would have two part-time careers. I would still be following my passions but I wanted to ensure I have a practical plan should my business not garner me enough income.

It’ll boost your confidence overall.

You’ll have shown your inner critic that no matter what happens, you’ll be okay. These fears lie within you anyway, and that’s okay. Why not show them how wrong they are?

There’s nothing wrong with preparing for the worst – it’s anticipating it that’s a detriment.

Tim Ferriss, Author of the 4 Hour Work Week on ‘Pessimism as a Productivity Booster’.

photo credit: Joel Zimmer

Practical Pessimism

By Tara Joyce Time to Read: 1 min