I often think about the worst thing that could happen, as a way to manage risk. That’s one alternative.
Sometimes, when I’m stuck on a problem, I think about the worst thing I could do. Not as a risk management approach, but as a way to create more options for solving my problem.
Here’s a problem I have. I want to write posts about how you can be your best person, and how to have your best life. I have no idea how to start. None. Nada. Zilch.
I decided to consider what would not work, what would create your worst life.
I have plenty of ideas about how you can be your worst person. And, how to have your worst life. I wasn’t sure you wanted to read a post like that, and then I thought you might want to read my thought process.
Here goes. What are the worst things you could do? Let’s consider some options in various realms:
What’s Worst For Yourself?
- You could let FEAR rule your life
- You might never experiment
- You might never consider multiple options
What’s Worst for Your Relationships?
- You might Inflict help
- You might view everything as a transaction, instead of paying it forward
- You might whine instead of solve problems
What’s Worst for Your Professional Life?
- Thinking it’s too late to start, so you never start something new
- Not using guideposts to make decisions
- Trying to do it all
There’s much more, of course. You might want to think about a different set of contexts. These contexts are arbitrary—they’re how I tend to frame things for me. Especially since I started with the idea of the “best” person or life.
The problem that the opposite of worst isn’t necessarily best. It might be mediocre.
What does all this mean for my problem: how to be the best person you can be, or live your best life? I fear it means I might not know enough—for you. I know for me, but not for you. Does my best life even matter for you?
What I got out of writing all this down is that I can’t look for the easy answers. I need to go meta, to understand more about the problem. That helps me think about the problem in a different way.
When I think about more concrete problems, it might make sense to ask about what could make things worse. Philosophical questions are already meta ideas. I’m not sure they help me think more concretely about the problem. I’m pretty sure I need to be more concrete so I can imagine or experiment with ideas.
Gentle readers, this is a strange question of the week, but it helped me. I hope it helps you. The question: What’s the worst thing you could do?