How Pessimism Can Help You Succeed
Practicing “negative visualization,” or imagining the worst-case scenario in a given situation, can make one more appreciative and successful in both personal and professional pursuits, according to author Eric M. Ruiz. He suggests that one of the best ways to achieve resilience and even peace of mind is to deal head-on with the negative what-ifs before a big project gets underway.

Ruiz calls this a “premortem” exercise, and it begins after the team has been briefed on the plan. The leader begins the exercise by telling his/her team or board that the project has failed spectacularly. Over the next several minutes, those in the room are invited to independently write down every reason they can think of for what went wrong — especially the things they ordinarily wouldn’t mention as potential problems for fear of being impolitic. The general idea is to anticipate and prepare for factors that may impede the success of a given project during actual implementation. A premortem should not be a long and elaborate process. All a leader must do is gather the stakeholders of a project and get them to talk open and freely about what can go wrong. “In the grand scheme of things, it’s a small time investment, but the payoff can be big,” Ruiz says.
Fast Company (04/19/16) Ruiz, Eric M.
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