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Using "Best Case" and "Worst Case" Scenarios

Not sure if you're familiar with the show - which I'm OBSESSED WITH - NBC's "This Is Us" - now in it's final season (insert sad face emoji). This show hits on so many topics of fostering children, infertility, family dynamics, race issues, dealing with adversity, and a range of emotions. One of my favorite characters on the show is Randall played by Sterling K Brown.

In the show, he and his wife Beth have three daughters - two biological and one adopted. In the show, he himself (Randall) is adopted.

Their three girls are full of surprises and teenage angst, as you would expect from any teenager.

When Randall and his wife feel that something could go wrong or they are faced with a difficult decision, they play a game called "worst case scenario". Where they imagine the absolute WORST things that could possibly happen. In a way, it sounds masochistic and totally wrong - but the more I heard them play this game, the more it made sense. They aren't just surmising the awful things they are thinking inside, they are preparing themselves mentally for all the "what ifs".

But what a cool way to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst, as they often say. I see it as a positive in some ways though. They are able to imagine how they would react in the moment of a WORST case scenario, and therefore think about HOW they will react if their "worst case" happens. Now it's usually NOT what they think it is, and this is where this game can backfire. If you are known to be an overthinker and have a solid amount of anxiety that you deal with on a daily basis, this may not be the best game to play.

One thing you CAN do - and is practiced in Positive Psychology is the BEST CASE Scenario. Think of a goal or something you want in life. Now imagine if you woke up tomorrow and EVERYTHING you wanted for that goal to be met, happened. What obstacles would be removed? What would be different tomorrow that you didn't have today?

Sometimes when we put ourselves in the BEST case scenario, we begin to see many of the things that we desire may already be in place in some way. It may not be a PERFECT situation for you, but you will see that what you really REALLY want, may not be all that far away. It will also give you perspective into what you REALLY want and what REALLY may be holding you back.

Either game - best or worse case scenario - can be an interesting way to deal with an upcoming life decision or goal. Maybe you play "worst case scenario" and you begin to realize that all the things you THINK can go wrong, are impossible to go wrong - and you may be making yourself anxious for no reason at all. I mean, what's the WORST case scenario if you sent the email to your boss with a Type-o? Are they REALLY going to fire you? No. And if they do, you deserve better. Are they going to reprimand you? No. And if they do, you've got quite a story to tell to your next dream job about how you got fired for typing "alot" instead of "a lot".

Next time you're faced with something big - try one of these games and see how it helps with your perspective about the situation. Let me know how it goes.

If you'd like some coaching or help to get started with this style of thinking, you're in luck - getting certified in the field of Positive Psychology, so I can help strategize with you to meet your mental health goals. Let's talk maybe!

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