When I was in high school, my friend always repeated the same mantra:
Expect the worst, hope for the best.
As a cynical teenager, I loved the phrase. I repeated it too because I liked knowing that if something went wrong, I was already prepared for it. This way I was never disappointed. And when something went right? Well, it was just perfect.
(And then came my second favorite quote: “If you start out depressed everything’s kind of a pleasant surprise.” Thank you, Lloyd Dobler.)
Over time, though, my cynicism was lost. I hated the idea of looking at situations negatively. Why would you do that? Why would you prepare for something bad to happen?
Which is why I’ve decided to change the original quote. I don’t want to expect the worst anymore. If you expect the worst, why try for something great? Really, it’s setting yourself up to fail.
So how about this: “Know the worst, but shoot for the best.”
With this, you understand the worst that can happen. You can analyze it from every situation and, in a way, still be prepared. But you’re not settling. You’re not telling yoruself that it’s okay to fail. You’re still going for the best in the situation.
Because rather than looking at things cynically, I’d rather be positive. I’d rather see the best in my future and do everything I can to reach it. Sometimes, I’ll even throw away the worst feelings. Leave them at home with all other doubts, and just keep climbing until I get what I want.
Because I’m done being prepared. I want to reach and hope and shoot and keep going and actually believe in the best. Because I know it can come.
And you should, too.