This sounds pretty straightforward, right? When I read it first in the book Clear Thinking by Shane Parrish, I thought “Well, thank you for stating the obvious!”. But after reading into it a bit more I realized that I, as well as a lot of people out there, really don’t think about this often enough. For example, people would rather think about how they can look successful than how to actually be successful. And paradoxically enough, trying to look successful is already increasing your chances of failure.
I think this goes together well with another concept from the book: planning for all possible outcomes, even the ones where you end up losing. The least favorable situation for anyone, is one they are not prepared for. And the higher the stakes, the more important this becomes.
Planning for all possible outcomes ahead of time won’t only make sure you are prepared for about anything, you might even discover some risks that you didn’t initially think about. This will now give you the opportunity to update the approach you’re going to take and thus lowering the chances of a specific bad outcome to happen.
As an example, this is actually something I did when the COVID pandemic first hit. I created a note listing all possible impacts I could think off that this could have on my businesses. And I even discovered a pretty nice business opportunity in the process that ended up being a huge success!
And right now I’m doing the same thing regarding the numerous conflicts in the world, the impact of rising interest rates and a general change in government policies all over the world. I want to think about all the possible impacts these events and trends can have on my life and businesses.