Twenty years ago and living in New Zealand, Aunty was offered a job in Australia. We discussed and stressed over the various benefits and drawbacks to moving. This was a chance to be part of an amazing country and provide different opportunities for our children. We would be further away from family. Our oldest son would need to change schools, again, and effort would be required to become part of a new community. This was a huge decision so what to do?
We were unable to decide so started to discuss the worst possible outcome if we took the plunge. Perhaps we would not like the life in Australia. Maybe the Australians wouldn’t like us. If it didn’t work out, we could move home. It was as simple as that. We decided to give the move two years then re-evaluate our lives. One year to see all the seasons and enjoy life as tourists then one more year to enjoy whatever we had missed the first time around. Once we had accepted a worst case scenario of the move not working out and decided to commit for two years, the decision was easy and one we have never regretted.
In his book, “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”, Dale Carnegie suggests asking yourself: What’s the worst thing that could happen? He then suggests we accept this worst-case scenario in our minds. Once the worst possible outcome is known and accepted, we become free to move ahead with the decision. Usually, the worst possible outcome never happens.
We have amazingly powerful minds enabling us to visualise those best and worst case scenarios in our heads before they occur. Once we play those mind movies, we can review both potential outcomes and take actions to reduce the bad and enhance the good.
For example, you are offered a new job and start to play the movie about accepting the position. You see yourself walking in the front gates, meeting wonderful new colleagues and spending the increased pay on new clothes. You feel the air electric with opportunities. Then, you consider the flip side, the worst that might happen. See yourself spending an extra thirty minutes in frantic traffic, getting home later and not being able to spend as much time with your family or at the gym. Are you prepared to accept those downsides in return for extra money and status? How can you reduce those negatives? Perhaps you could start work a little earlier to avoid the traffic or move closer to the work location. Now you can make a more balanced decision.
Think and prepare for the worst that could happen.