Yesterday, as I was preparing for several worst-case scenarios, I noticed this headline in a local newspaper:
I captured that image, preparing for the worst-case scenario of people getting confused, angry, or annoyed that I was inexplicably snapping a photo of a folded newspaper in a busy restaurant, perhaps momentarily inconveniencing people going about their business.
I wanted to photograph that “Preparing for the Worst-Case Scenario” headline — despite the worst-case scenario of bothering other people — because I believe that I am not alone in preparing for the worst-case scenario, consciously and unconsciously, every day.
Preparing for the worst-case scenario that the previous paragraph was either confusing or otherwise inadequate, I will now redirect you to many blog posts about the cognitive distortion of catastrophizing (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here).
Preparing for the worst-case scenario that nobody will look at those previous posts I’ve written, I shall now prepare a list of my current thoughts and feelings about preparing for the worst-case scenario, as follows:
- People who want to sell you something often do so by seemingly preparing you for the worst-case scenario.
- Action movies, like the latest Mission Impossible film (which I saw yesterday), are built on worst-case scenarios (e.g., the destruction of the world) being thwarted, at the last possible second, by super human actions performed by people who are much stronger and smarter than anybody I know. My mind then goes to this worst-case scenario: what chance do actual human beings have in averting disaster in real time and real life?
- Some reader might chastise me with this: why can’t you just enjoy a great action movie without all this thinking about worst-case scenarios?
- It’s difficult to prepare for the worst-case scenario when so many seem possible in the moment. How do we even choose what the worst-case scenario is, from moment to moment and day to day? And then, how do we prepare for it amid all these shifting sands and different opinions out there?
- Whenever I listen to or watch the news, I notice people preparing for worst-case scenarios that are often diametrically opposed from each other.
- A nation (and world!) so polarized and conflicted is — according to Abraham Lincoln — a worst-case scenario: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
- I’m preparing for the worst-case scenario that my readers might think I haven’t done my homework in preparing this post by pointing out that “A house divided against itself cannot stand” originally appeared in the New Testament.
- Preparing for worst-case scenarios in our daily lives (e.g., my health is declining, my money is running out, I won’t be able to survive this latest loss, I may fail miserably in this venture, people will judge and/or abandon me) may seem to prepare and arm us for difficulties, but it also depletes and sometimes defeats us, even before we’ve tried.
Should I be preparing you for any worst-case scenarios in my other photos from yesterday?
Last night, as I watched the fabulous fireworks celebrating the opening of the new Hancock Adams Park in historic Quincy, Massachusetts, USA, I was preparing myself for the worst-case scenario that I wouldn’t capture any of the wonderful smiley-face fireworks that were a part of the display. Despite preparing for that worst-case scenario, I loved every moment of those fireworks.
So I guess that’s the best I can do, these days: realize that my mind is going to naturally be preparing for the worst-case scenario but also getting as much as I can from every moment I’m still alive.
I’m now preparing for the worst-case scenario that people will notice all the flaws I see in this performance of my second original song “Catatrophizing” from two months ago …
… and this more recent performance, listed under the title “How not to be a busker, by Ann Koplow” on YouTube (and starting at 4:04):
How are you preparing for the worst-case scenario, these days?
As always, I’m preparing for the worst-case scenario by focusing on gratitude for what I do have. Thanks to all who helped me prepare this worst-case scenario post and — of course! — YOU, from the bottom of my catastrophizing heart.