I had the idea to ask myself “What could go right?”, when I noticed how often I thought about things going badly. As Abraham says, “When you know what you don’t want, you more clearly know what you do want.” The habit of expecting the worst is meant to protect me, but it doesn’t really. It keeps me depressed and fearful.
What if I could turn that around? What if I could change my focus from expecting the worst to expecting the best? It feels radical. It’s a measure of how far I’ve come that I can even contemplate such a thing.
Many years ago, a therapist shocked me by suggesting that the unknown future may include good things as well as bad things. My focus was so relentlessly on my fears, that I was dumbfounded by the idea that the unknown could be good. Decades later, I remember that moment clearly. It was pivotal for me. It was a moment when hope shined through the crack in my armor against misery.
My habits of thought didn’t change much then, but over the years when I’ve been immersed in fear and trying to feel better, I have sometimes remembered what that therapist pointed out to me: the unknown may actually be something good.
Expecting pleasant surprises is the opposite of worry. I’ve been thinking lately about a story I read on Jeannette Mau’s Good Vibe blog. A woman suddenly lost a job and she took that development as evidence that the universe had lined up something wonderful for her life. She was right. It’s a funny blog post. Check it out here.
She expected her life to get better and it did. I am convinced that feeling good is the best way to get everything I want. I’m getting better at coaxing myself into good feelings and this is another way to do that. What if I could simply see the unexpected as new pleasures coming into my life?
What could go right in my day today? What unexpected good fortune might appear? What might be easier than expected? What resources may come my way without any effort on my part? I’m having fun as I to start to ask these questions.