A Habit To Stay Optimistic

When I was in Bali, I got in a motorbike accident. Long story short, my foot was badly scraped up and had gotten infected more than once. I was starting to really get worried that it could turn for the worst. I was in pain, I could barely walk, and I wasn’t able to teach.

I remember sitting outside, after a second doctor's visit, feeling completely miserable when a fellow volunteer and friend sat down next to me. He said, “What’s the worst-case scenario that will happen because of your foot?” And I said, “I don’t know, the infection could get worse.”

He said, “The worst case scenario is that you have to fly home to go to the doctor. Just prepare for the worst case scenario, and anything else that happens will be a positive turn of events. If nothing goes right, you’ve already pictured yourself dealing with it.”

I’ve been stressed waiting tables, worried about how much I’m going to tip based on how things are going, maybe everyone's food is taking an hour to come out, or their meat has come out overdone. When those situations happen, I have a number in my head of how much they are going to tip me, and I always shoot low. When I actually pick up the tab after they leave, that amount is usually higher than the number I had in my head.

It’s almost like I prepare for frustration in order to feel less frustrated.

Before I do an interview, I try to predict what kind of questions they will ask me, and I picture in my head how that conversation would go. I basically rehearse everything mentally.

I believe there’s something really valuable in trying to picture what will happen to you. It prepares me and gets rid of my nerves. It helps me stay more optimistic about my outcomes, and it leaves me better prepared for whatever life will throw at me.