Why You Should Stop Assuming the Worst

Assuming the Worst

Assuming the worst is something everybody does, but there is an important reason why you should stop. This could seriously hurt your career.

As human beings, we always tend to assume the worst. When your friend doesn’t answer your calls, you automatically think that they are avoiding you, or even worse when something happens at the office, you believe that it’s your fault and you are probably going to get fired. While this shows that you are highly intuitive, it also proves that you have a vivid imagination, and your mind plays tricks on you.

According to Psychology Today, this is what we call ‘catastrophic thinking’ which is defined as “ruminating about irrational worst-case outcomes” that only lead to the increase of anxiety and a lack of effective decision-making. Catastrophic thinking is bolstered when persistent negative thoughts appear that relate to your own beliefs and core values and provoke emotional reactions such as fear about what might happen.

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It should be pretty obvious by now that always assuming the worst at work isn’t the key to success. When you believe that something bad is going to happen, you are unwillingly focusing on that particular belief and make things worse for yourself and ultimately your career. For example, if you are convinced that your boss will fire you because of a small mistake you made at work, you are making a mountain out of a molehill.

worried woman Shutterstock

The reason this type of thinking is harmful is that it prevents you from exploiting your full potential. In fact, what you are doing is beating yourself up, projecting a lack of self-confidence and engaging in negative self-talk that is hurting your wellbeing and personal development. You aren’t only increasing your chance of getting fired, but also killing any opportunities that you have to get promoted.

When you expect the worst, all you can see is the thing that you dread, and you are not living in the moment. If you think your boss isn’t happy with the work you produce, you hang on to the negative feedback he/she gave you months ago and expect that you will sooner or later get fired because of that, but how realistic is this really?
stressed out man at the office

stressed out man at the office Shutterstock

If you take a step back and try to assess a situation as a third party, you immediately come to realise that there are more explanations to why certain things happen. Perhaps your boss was having a bad day when he/she gave you the bad critique about your work, and this has nothing to do with how you deal with things at work. Being more positive, and not always expecting for the worst to happen, will allow you to enjoy the challenges and experience of life the way you should.

If assuming the worst happens to you regularly and is affecting your work, there are a handful of ways to help you handle the situation:

  • Be more aware of each situation and explore alternatives.
  • Question your negative emotions.
  • Make your work environment more positive and uplifting.
  • Take a break from work if you feel like you’ve been working too much.
  • Ask your boss if everything is okay and eliminate doubt.

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Assuming the worst is safer, but assuming the best offers more rewards because it allows you to enjoy things as they come. Learning how to manage your thoughts and expectations, taking the focus off your fears, and instead working on being productive in the present, will make you feel healthier and happier at work.  

Would you say that you always assume the worst? How does this affect your work? Let me know in the comments section below…