27 September 2023

Optimism prism: Why we should always expect things to go right

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Christine Bradstreet* says there’s a stance we can take right now to neutralise ‘What if something goes wrong?’ thinking.

Photo: Donald Tong

Have you ever talked yourself out of a grand plan because you started making a mental list of all the things that could go wrong?

Before you even had a chance to start down the path, another part of you talked yourself out of it.

Maybe you had a dream and shared it with others just to have them tell you all the things that could go wrong.

Once again, dream ripped out by the roots before it even had a chance.

It’s disappointing to be sure, and your enthusiasm quickly deflates like a withered balloon.

There’s something in our human nature or in our culture that seems to drive us to focus on all the things that can go wrong.

Like a sneaky little saboteur, the thinking is sinister because it wraps itself in the disguise of care, concern, and duty.

There’s a stance you can take right now to neutralise “What if something goes wrong?” thinking.

What if something goes right?

After all, isn’t it much more likely that something’s going to go right?

I’m going to avoid elaborating here on the concept of nothing actually being good or bad because it’s only our thinking that makes it so.

Chances are, if you’re reading this article, you’ve been exposed to that way of thinking already.

Heck, you’ve seen that famous quote if you’ve been on any social media site: “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” – William Shakespeare.

I want to instead point out that things are going “right” all the time.

Things are going right all the time, and we just don’t notice them.

The reason we don’t notice them is, simply, because they’re going right.

When things are going right, they’re in harmony.

They’re in a state of flow.

It’s not flashy or noisy.

We don’t notice all the daily intricate actions and reactions of our bodies; we only notice when something hurts.

We don’t get worked up when our car starts every morning, only when it doesn’t.

We don’t congratulate ourselves every time we remember to pay a bill on time, we only chastise ourselves when we forget.

It would be impossible to count all the things that are going “right” at this very moment.

If you can stretch your mind to contemplate all the actions and reactions happening in the Universe right at this moment, you’ll understand that everything is going right.

The things that seem to not be going right are barely a drop in a vast, vast sea.

And who are we to say, in our tiny human thinking, that we know what’s right and what’s wrong?

At the very least, trust there’s good you may not be able to comprehend at the moment.

Make your list carefully.

The next time you’re tempted to make a mental list of all the things that could go wrong with a plan, a dream or an idea, step back and sort that list.

Sure, some ideas involve risk, so be honest with yourself about what’s realistic.

If there’s a legitimate risk, what can you do to mitigate it?

What’s a backup plan?

Which items are nothing more than fears or expectations planted by society or other people?

Now, go ahead and make another list.

A list of everything that can go right.

For every overblown, unrealistic “wrong” you have on your list, counter it with an equally grand and awesome positive outcome.

A simple and reassuring item on this list is “everything will be okay.”

Because even if unexpected things happen, in the end, you’re going to be okay.

Say “thank you” in advance for all the things going right now and for all the things that will continue to go right in the future.

Seeing and appreciating all that’s “going right” around you keeps that pattern flowing.

Meditate each day on both the simple and the complicated things that are flowing smoothly in your life.

When something doesn’t go as expected and it feels “wrong”, trust and know it’s only one step along the path to what’s “right”.

Don’t be tempted to let any words slip from your mouth that predict things just don’t go right for you.

Keep seeing what’s going right and more will appear.

Odds are in your favour, and Life wants good things for you!

* Dr Christine Bradstreet is an author, health and wellness expert and transformation specialist. Her website is www.christinebradstreet.com. She tweets at @C_Bradstreet.

This article first appeared at medium.com/.

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