This morning, I found this quote by William Graham Sumner — “What we prepare for is what we shall get.” And it hit me that we are all constantly preparing to face our present and preparing for our futures. And seldom as we engage in this creative act do we stop and truly examine the tools — our micro assumptions — with which we are busy building our lives. We just kind of go about making our way without too much self-awareness of our underlying base attitudes. And sadly, we do this not only on a personal level, but also on a community and global level as well.
And what do we tend to assume? I find most people tend to assume the almost worst and prepare for the almost worst — which we tend to view as a rational survival instinct response to living our lives. The only problem is that when we start from a worse (or almost worse) case scenario, we are viewing our challenges and situations from a victim mindset. Thus we automatically take on a defensive instead of offensive posture. And worse, when we discuss the challenges or situations with ourself, or with others, we do so from a standpoint as if the almost worse is the inevitable outcome. Hardly a mindset for proactive behavior!
So our discussion becomes a "It won't be that bad, but not really that good. And it's probably inevitable, but I'm plucky. So I'll do the best I can and hope for the best and that will be that and I don't really know what else to do. And actually I'm tired of thinking about it, so let's talk about something else." By approaching things from the standpoint that the worse has all but arrived — we have mentally already accepted a bleak scenario and thus emotionally begun preparing for its eventual arrival. We don't even have to admit any of this to ourselves, it's happening subconsciously. And when we enter into that victim mindset, we become like putty — listless and passive.
Why can't we commit to viewing things from the standpoint that it is inevitable that the outcome will be as we want it to be and thus we should begin preparing for our inevitable success? A pretty heady affirmation! But look at what our mind says to us in response to this empowering mantra — "Egotistical! You can't really be positive that it will work out as you want it to. You're making a mistake…" All victim-inspired fear thoughts, afraid of being seen as a fool, making a mistake or simply failing.
For example, let's say one is faced with a situation where money is tight, there is an unknown future, no job on the horizon and finances are covered only for the next three months. We could say "I'll do my best and I'm not going to worry about it and I'll do what I can until the money runs out." Sounds empowered, right? Except for that last part — "until the money runs out." — that's our worse or almost worse case scenario coming into focus. Our Inner Victim has already mentally and emotionally decided that "the money running out" is an option. Worse yet, it perceives it as an "option beyond our control" — which means we think it has more power over us, than we have over it. And once we allow the option is in any way beyond our control, we begin preparing for it in a myriad number of ways as inevitable.
Now we could say, "Well this is just being realistic." I have to ask: Why is ''realistic' almost always a euphemism for 'not very pleasant'?
One could just as easily say, "I'm going to do my best, be frugal, and approach this situation from the most creatively empowered manner I can. So I'll do whatever I can to create a situation where I earn more income. Money running out is not an option and thus not worth my worry because I will not let the situation get to that point. Now these are my ideas…" That would be just as realistic. And ultimately much more empowered and proactive.
It's an interesting and empowering daily affirmation to tell yourself "I assume my success, do everything I can do to assure my success, and prepare for my success which will be forthcoming!"