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Looking to 2016: The Power of Negative Thinking

Elizabeth Baldwin

Astronauts Guide1 Res

Can you believe another year’s gone by? Seems impossible, but here we are. People are looking ahead, thinking that things should be better in the New Year. They’re optimistic and positive, making New Year resolutions.

So why is my final 2015 blog on negative thinking?

Frankly, the industry’s had a rough time this year and a lot of people were caught unprepared. They shouldn’t have been—the signs have been out there for a while that topics like CARB and Lacey were going to go mainstream. There’s more ahead on those topics and likely on other issues too. But I’m not dwelling on the negatives here, rather I’m thinking about how to prepare for them.

I’m taking a page from astronaut Chris Hadfield. He wrote, “My optimism and confidence come not from feeling I’m luckier than other mortals, and they sure don’t come from visualizing victory. They’re the result of a lifetime spent visualizing defeat and figuring out how to prevent it … I’m pretty sure that I can deal with what life throws at me because I’ve thought about what to do if things go wrong, as well as right. That’s the power of negative thinking.”

Read the full excerpt on negative thinking from his book here. It won’t take you long, and I think you’ll find it quite useful.

After all, this is the time to plan ahead—to be ready before things happen. What will you do if X happens or Y goes sideways? Be prepared to deal with it—plan now. (Of course it’s great if you can also be taking actions now to prevent the problem from happening.) But no matter how much you work to prevent the bad from slamming into you, some things will always be outside your control. You will often find yourself in a defensive posture because of something someone else did—or didn’t—do, so be ready. As Chris said—know what you’ll do IF something happens, and then just be glad when it doesn’t. “Wasted” preparation is better than being entirely unprepared.

So here we are at the New Year. I’m hoping 2016 is a good one. But I’ll be relying on the power of negative thinking to help me get through if it isn’t. Happy New Year, all!


Chris’s TED talk on fear is also wonderful and if you’ve never seen it, be sure to enjoy his version of Space Oddity.

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