More often than not, we try to answer “what’s the worse that could happen”? In reality, for probably 99.9% of the situations we’re facing, we should be asking, and focusing on, “what’s the best that could happen”?
It may seem to many as only a small difference in the phrasing of the same question, but I’ve come to believe that the framing of these 2 questions is hugely different. The focus being on either positive or negative outcomes.
It’s too easy to think it’s not going to work
Way too many people I’ve met don’t bother getting started because they’ve already set themselves the assumption that it’s not going to work. They have a host of reasons why it won’t. Most of these are limiting beliefs. But ultimately, they set the person up perfectly, with an excuse, to not even try.
When we frame things differently and look at “what’s the best that could happen” rather than the worst, we’re starting by engaging our brain to look at all the positive outcomes and all the things that we would accomplish by getting started.
The difference is huge.
We have an incredible brain, but as Daniel Kahneman states in Thinking, Fast and Slow:
“A general “law of least effort” applies to cognitive as well as physical exertion.
The law asserts that if there are several ways of achieving the same goal, people will eventually gravitate to the least demanding course of action.
In the economy of action, the effort is a cost and the acquisition of skill is driven by the balance of benefits and costs.
Laziness is built deep into our nature.”
We’re prone to do as little as possible. Our brain is almost wired that way. So any additional support you can give it to help it move towards taking action is hugely valuable.
Always look on the bright side of life
The song, that you’re probably now humming to yourself because of the title above, couldn’t have been more right. When we focus on the good, the positive, we almost forget the negatives. It’s hard to feel sad or down when smiling and laughing. Our brain can’t handle both at the same time. It’s why when someone is crying, they can suddenly find themselves in fits of laughter, and oscillating been two directly opposite emotions, unclear on how or why it’s happening.
It’s not unlike focusing on gratitude and finding reasons to be grateful in and amongst what’s happening around you.
What’s the best that could happen?
Whether it’s for work. Your health. Starting a new career. Anything! If you can start by looking and focusing on the positives, the best possible outcomes, and the reasons why you should, you just might find yourself more likely to get started and to do it.
Procrastination plays a huge part in all of this, and one of my favourite articles on this subject is all about the procrastination monkey, from Tim Urban. You can also watch his Ted Talk about the same subject.
Next time you’re putting something off or looking for excuses, ask yourself the simple question: