If you’d met me about a decade ago, you would’ve quickly found out that I was deeply devoted to a few things: meditation, a raw food diet, and reading various versions of the Tao Te Ching. I had been on a very intentional path of self improvement for a little over two years.
Since then, a lot has changed. I’ve progressively become more and more entrenched in the world of building businesses and all of the planning, fundraising, iterating, and oversight that comes with that type of endeavor. While this has provided me with many things that I’m incredibly grateful for, it has absolutely rewired my brain—including in some ways that I want to undo.
A few days ago I decided to spend just one week assuming the best (as opposed to the worst). I realized that I’ve become so used to identifying all of the things that can go wrong, raising flags for issues that need to be addressed, and spending endless mental space worrying about how to overcome immediate challenges, that I’ve lost the instinct or ability to think that things will go well.
The description above can easily be used to describe what happens to startup founders and operators, because so much is at stake and there are so many ways to fail.
That said, my inability to think that the best could happen in any given situation, has completely taken over my life and has caused a never-ending inner conflict. The doubt, worry, and fear manifest as a racing heart, sleeplessness, and a less-than-friendly attitude.
So I’ve committed, just for this week, to catch myself every time I’m worrying, assuming the worst, or generally fretting, and have resolved to assume that everything will go splendidly well and will turn out absolutely fine.
The thing I’m noticing most of all is just how much I worry and contemplate the most dire outcome. Until I decided to think the opposite, it was just another train of thought I was on. Now, having to catch it and change it, it’s amazing how often it comes up—it’s dozens, if not hundreds, of times each day.
But, I’m hopeful that this weeklong effort will prove useful, and I can adopt it for the month of July and reassess then.
From what I can tell, life seems to renew itself again and again so, even if you thought you landed somewhere, the undercurrent of time slowly but surely sweeps you back out to sea.
All we can do is catch ourselves when we realize it, and do what we can to redirect our path.