There is one extremely important question, which I always ask my clients while they make their long-term plans. Sadly, many coaches avoid it. Even more sadly, it is treated as taboo, as it may”attract negative thoughts” or “attract misfortune”.
This question is: “what might go wrong?”
What might go wrong when you implement the change?
What might go wrong when you leave your job and start looking for a new one?
What might go wrong if you start behaving in a new way?
Nowadays, when positive thinking is a trendy thing, it’s hard not to hear statements such as:
“You just have to believe that you will make it, and you will make it!”
“Don’t think negatively, and you will succeed”
” Program your brain to think positively”
… but a chance of you hearing the above-mentioned question is pretty low, even though it is crucial.
Optimism is important. It makes you feel good, have faith in your abilities; it helps you in setting and pursuing goals. But if there is too much of it, it will hurt you. It’s just like in cooking: if you add too much of one spice, the dish will taste bad. To make a good meal you have to keep the right proportions of the ingredients.
The recipe for making plans is combining different types of thinking: positive, with a big dose of realistic, and a pinch of negative.
Negative thinking is valuable because it allows you to reflect on obstacles and random problems that you may encounter. It gives you an opportunity to prepare for them ahead of time, make emergency plans and gather resources that may be needed. Because of that, when something bad happens, you will be ready, instead of being shocked and in panic, to say, “but I DID think positively; it shouldn’t happen to me!” Your lifebuoys will be waiting to be used.
Obviously, you can’t predict everything, but it’s still worth taking care of at least some portions of possible future problems.
By using negative thinking, you gain an access to much broader knowledge than when you just think positively. Optimism gives you the answers to questions such as: what can I achieve, what is possible, what actions can I take?
Negative thinking opens a perspective of possible problems. You can see the other side of the coin. Your plan will be more complete and more robust.
People relying only on positive thinking sooner or later will face reality. Then it turns out that the universe didn’t tune in to their visions, that their thinking goes one way, and reality goes the other way.
This is why, when you make your plans, it’s good to ask yourself: “what might go wrong?” and then find solutions.
It increases the chances of you actually achieving your goal.