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What’s The BEST That Could Happen? September 29, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Mindfulness, People.
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 In The Happiness Trap: How To Stop Struggling and Start Living, Russ Harris discusses how to use ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) to learn to accept ourselves as we are, while reducing our tendency to worry about anything and everything:   

Our brains were designed to protect us from danger, real and potential.  As a result, our thoughts are constantly  evaluating the scenery around us, and judging situations as good or bad.  

At the same time, we are struggling to fit in with the group, because our odds of survival in the past increased when we banded together.   

In other words, our minds are pre-programmed to worry about things that, more often than not, never happen, and to seek approval and acceptance from others, rather than being true to ourselves.  

As a result of this pre-wiring, we tend to evaluate situations by asking ourselves:  

What’s the WORST that could happen?  

We then use our imaginations to create WORST Case Scenarios that fuel our fear and give us things to worry about:  

* If I submit this story for publication, it might get rejected.  

* If it’s rejected, people will laugh at me.  

* Sigh.  I’ll never be able to earn a living as a writer.  

* I better not submit this story.  

What if we stopped imagining WORST Case Scenarios?  

What if we started using our imagination to create BEST Case Scenarios?  

What if we asked ourselves:  

What’s the BEST that could happen?  

We could then use our imaginations to overcome our fear of uncertainty and forge ahead in the direction of our dreams:  

* If I submit this story for publication, it might get accepted.  

* If it’s accepted, I would start to earn a living as a writer.  

* I better finish and submit this story.  

We need to stop giving our power away.    

Every time we choose to focus on a negative, we are depleting our reserves rather than re-charging our  batteries.   We can use creative visualization and our imaginations to our advantage, not our detriment.   

It’s EASY!   

Instead of picturing worst case scenarios, see things as you want them to be.    

No rules.  Just write!

Related posts:  10 Ways To Attract Positive Energy * Self-Fulfilling Prophecies * The “It Could Be Worse” Game * Connecting The Dots (Arriving At Your Own Door) * When Ego Wins, You Lose * Inventing a New Year (Agrigirl’s Blog)


1. youluckybum - September 29, 2010

I love it! What’s the BEST thing that could happen? This one question can focus my attention where I want it to be….on the positive! I also like your explanation of why we tend to go to negative thoughts and fears first. I use to think this was just a family trait, but I realized later that it seems most people do it. Thank you for a great way to start each day!

nrhatch - September 29, 2010

Thank you, youluckybum! 8)

We can train ourselves to respond differently, but I expect that our leap to the negative is pre-wired to help us escape from now extinct predators, like the T-Rex.

2. aardvarkian - September 29, 2010

WordPress is still not sending me blogs today.

Curse you, WP!!

nrhatch - September 29, 2010

Maybe they’re trying to train us to use the subscription link at the top of our pages rather than relying on e-mails?

They still haven’t answered my e-mail.

3. souldipper - September 29, 2010

Like this alot, Nancy. I practice “feeling forward” – sort of one ratchet beyond “thinking positive”. Feel it, don’t just think it.

I certainly experience that I receive what I imagine.

nrhatch - September 29, 2010

Good point.

See and FEEL things as we want them to be.

4. Arvik - September 29, 2010

Ah, this was just what I needed to read. So, another human being is reading my work? Thinking about the BEST that could happen is already making me feel better. Thanks!!

nrhatch - September 29, 2010

Yay! If you picture them LOVING every word, waiting for the verdict will be much easier.

Enjoy your week.

5. booksphotographsandartwork - September 30, 2010


6. cindy - September 30, 2010

I like this philosophy, Nancy!

nrhatch - September 30, 2010

It’s energizing and optimism . . . instead of draining pessimism.

7. Posky - September 30, 2010

Wonderful post. WON-DER-FUL.

I really wish people would just be okay and accept themselves for who and what they are. Perhaps, if more people did that, they’re would be more people willing to accept others too.

nrhatch - September 30, 2010

Can’t speak for everyone but . . .

The more I accept myself and allow myself to be “ME,” the more willing I am to let others be who they want to be.

I still make “global” observations, and encourage everyone to THINK for themselves, but if an individual wants to do X (sit in the mud all day playing patty cake) they’ll get no objection from me.

8. Jenny Ann Fraser - January 10, 2011

“We need to stop giving our power away.”
Such wise words.
This is so true. We have to let go of all of the can’ts and nos and shoulds… where would we be if we did that?
Thank you so much for the link!

nrhatch - January 10, 2011

You’re welcome, Jenny. As you consider the future:

Listen to the mustn’ts child. Listen to the don’ts.
Listen to the shouldn’t haves, the impossibles, the won’ts.
Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me.
Anything can happen child. Anything can be.

~ Shel Silverstein

9. Tammy McLeod - January 10, 2011

Boy are you and I on the same wavelength. Just ordered a used copy of The Last Word on Power. I am working this year to rewire my brain from convoluted scenarios that I create. I am also doing the “what are all the possible outcomes work”. Great post Nancy.

nrhatch - January 10, 2011

Thanks, Tammy. Your “Inventing a New Year” post reminded me of this.

We benefit when we create an image of the future we wish to manifest, instead of fearing the uncertainty.

10. If we took “fear” out of our lives, how might our lives look? | Pocket Perspectives - October 21, 2011

[…] ideas on using positive imagination, rather than negative:  “What’s the best that could happen” Spirit Lights the Way .Thank you Nancy for those […]

11. Pocket Perspectives - January 28, 2012

Hi Nancy….I just linked this post in the comments section of my “mis-gauging” post…your ideas provide a good balance to the way I was thinking in the car… I can’t believe I posted that mis-gauging thinking, but I figured it helps me to be aware of that type of negative judging and might benefit others….

nrhatch - January 28, 2012

Thanks, Kathy! Linking to related posts (and contrary views) is one of my favorite things about blogging! 😀

12. aawwa - January 24, 2013

Thanks Nancy – I like that “what is the best that can happen?” I will give it a go…

nrhatch - January 24, 2013

It’s easy to get into the habit of imagining worst case scenarios. With a bit of practice, we can put our imagination to work FOR us instead of AGAINST us. Good luck!

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