During the past year or two, I’ve finally learned how to overcome worst-case scenarios and irrational fears. Here’s how I do it and how you can too.
I’ve always had a lot of worst-case scenarios spooking around in my head. The gravest has been my fear of becoming poor and starving to death on the streets, without any money, a place to live, food, or even one single person to help me out. I’ve had this worst-case scenario in my head since I was a teenager, and I still sometimes get that vision in my mind.
If you are having problems with the same type of irrational fears, I hope that my story and my tips can help you overcome worst-case scenarios and fears as well, or just let you know that someone else shares your experience.
The way Worst-Case Scenarios have affected my life
Surprisingly, this irrational fear has probably led to me doing things that look good in other people’s eyes. The worry I’ve had of causing this scenario, has been my main motivator to do well in school, work, in my finances, saving, investing, and building more income sources.
I don’t think people around me realize that the reason for me trying so hard and working so much isn’t to look good in other people’s eyes or gain social status. It’s to avoid my worst-case scenario of what could ever happen to me.
At the same time, I know how irrational my fear of poverty and starvation is. Especially now when I do have backup money and the safety-net of loving parents, a partner, friends, and living in a state like Sweden where people don’t starve to death on the streets because the government can help you.
It would take more than just a few failed business ideas and loss of income sources for me to get into my worst-case scenario. I’d probably need to be in a challenging mental space, be addicted to drugs, and have fought away all of my loved ones. Even then, I’d probably need to be so gone in my head as to not be able to seek and accept the help given by the government. So, it’s not plausible.
So, up until the past 1-2 years, I thought this worst-case scenario was plausible. And I let it affect how I lived my life, how I planned my future, and surprisingly, it led me to a lot of objectively good things. Although, I don’t think the fear in itself has been good to me, and I don’t want it to consume me again.
But then the question of “What motivates a human?” comes into play. If I am not to be motivated by fear, should I be motivated by potential awards? And what type of awards should I be seeking? Financial? Social? Something of higher value? Honestly, I don’t know the best answer to this question yet. I don’t want to be chasing things and living my life for the potential award of just money or to gain other people’s respect. I want to find true intrinsic motivation and my personal values.
Tips on getting past fear of worst-case-scenarios
As you probably noticed in my personal story, I overcome worst-case scenarios by breaking them down and asking “How would this worst-case scenario happen in real life?”. What would it take? And how much of a risk/chance is it that those things actually happen? By breaking it down into realistic reasons, you’ll see how unlikely it probably is.
And even if it happens, don’t we always have the chance to fix our lives up until the point we’re actually dead?
Even if I were to be laying on the cold ground, outside, in the winter, slowly freezing to death, without any food, and no one to help me, I still at that point, have the ability to get myself up and try to walk somewhere warmer. Maybe a stairwell or shopping mall? I’d still have the possibility to steal food so that I could survive a little bit longer. I’d still have the possibility to find a source of water, or perhaps try to make the police take me into a cell where I can get warmth.
So, even in every worst-case scenario, as long as you haven’t crossed the line between life and death, you still have an endless amount of possibilities of turning your life around again. This thought, is for me, comforting, and takes the drama out of my fear.
Recommended further reading: Giving up the “Worst Case Scenario” Mindset for Good
Truth: There are an infinite amount of potential future scenarios
Another thought that helps me to overcome worst-case scenarios is to think about the fact that there are literally an infinite amount of future possible scenarios.
There is not just one, or 50, or 100, or even 100.000 different future scenarios. There’s an infinite amount of possible outcomes of every single moment in time and space. That’s just how it is.
And for a person, to pick out the worst-case scenario of all the possible ones, and live by the fear of that scenario to happen, is foolish. Yeah, I admit, I have been foolish in my way of thinking. But that can’t be realized until after we’ve moved past it. So whenever I find myself stuck in the thought of a worst-case scenario, I remind myself that it’s dumb. It’s stupid, dumb, foolish. And it is not something that I will do.
Solution: Start thinking of your best-case-scenario instead
Now, instead of focusing on my worst-case scenario, I actively think of the most attractive and best possible future scenario I could ever imagine. And I’ll focus on that scenario instead.
I act, and live, as if the best-case scenario that could ever happen to me, will happen. And you know the quote that they say?
What you focus on, expands.
Which I fully believe is true.
So, by focusing on the best-case scenario, you are expanding on that possible reality. You are focusing your energy, effort, and thoughts towards a place where you do actually want to be.
And it brings so much joy. Honestly, this method of thinking and redirecting my thoughts have brought me so much joy, peace, and gratitude. I am even grateful for a future that has not yet happened. Yet, everything that I want to happen, is happening. I can feel my life moving in the direction that I want, and I have noticed my life become better and happier for every month that has gone past since I started doing this.
How it Works: Spiritual & Rational Explanation
In spiritual circles, this way of overcoming worst-case scenarios is called manifestation, often associated with the use of vision boards, visualizing meditations, and even talks about using your consciousness to change the quantum field.
But, if you don’t enjoy thinking in those spiritual or New Age terms, then just think about it in a logical and rational way.
Here’s the rational and non-spiritual way this method works:
Your thoughts make up the contents of your inner world. Your inner world contains your thoughts, emotions, conversations with yourself, fantasies, imaginations, and self-awareness. And depending on how your inner world looks, you will see and interact with the outer world accordingly.
For example, if you see yourself in a very positive light (e.g. you think you are beautiful, smart, and funny), then you will behave as if you are that, towards others. And this will in turn affect how other people perceive you and treat you. If you think the opposite, then a very different outcome will happen.
So, our thoughts and beliefs affect our behaviors. And our behaviors affect our life situations. So, over time, the way we think and act shapes the realities we perceive ourselves to live in and also the realities that we actually live. Because we are living, breathing agents that affect the world around us with our actions. Thus, again: What you focus on, expands/turns into reality/becomes true.
From following this line of reasoning, the conclusion is that of course, you should stop focusing on worst-case scenarios, and start focusing on best-case scenarios!
I’d urge you to at least try this method for a period of time! I do actually believe that it will help you overcome worst-case scenarios thinking.