Career Advice: Negative Thinking Is A Good Thing
by Ramon Greenwood
Winners are positive thinkers. But without exception they also know that the powerful force of positive thinking must be leavened with a proper dose of negative thinking for Class A performance.
Planning The Company Picnic
Consider this scenario to illustrate the point:
Your boss asks you to plan the company picnic for employees and their families. This is a chance to display your skills in organizing and executing a project.
You secure the location. You line up a caterer to provide a delicious barbeque with all the trimmings. You plan entertainment, including clowns for the kids and games for all ages.
You are ready to submit your plans to the boss, but hold up. You are out on a limb if you don't have answers for such negative questions as these: What if it rains that day? Have you lined up an alternate site? What will you do about warding off pests such as ants and mosquitoes? Have you planned for first aid kits? Have you designated someone to take your place if you are sick the day of the big event?
They Didn't Plan On Hitting An Iceberg
Before the Titanic's maiden voyage a nervous passenger asked the captain, "Is this ship really unsinkable?" In the ultimate burst of positive thinking, the captain replied, "Madam, God himself could not sink this ship."
Positive thinkers all, the owners had provided lifeboats for less than half of the approximately 2,200 passengers. When the Titanic hit a huge iceberg and sank only 705 people made it into lifeboats and survived the frigid waters of the North Atlantic.
Too bad someone hadn't leavened all that blind confidence with a little negative thinking.
There are more values than a bit of irony and hearty chuckles to be found in Murphy's Laws. How do the following laws square with your experience?
• If anything can go wrong, it will.
• Everything takes longer to accomplish than you first imagine.
• Everything is more difficult to accomplish than you anticipate.
• Everything costs more than you expect.
Guidelines For Negative Thinking
Winners ask the following six basic questions about all of their projects each and every day.
1. What can go wrong?
2. What must I do to keep my project from jumping the track?
3. If, despite my best efforts, my project does derail what will I do to straighten out the wreckage and minimize the losses?
4. Is the potential reward from the project worth the risk?
5. Can I afford the losses?
6. If I lose, how will it affect my other projects and my career?
Of course you must believe that your projects--and your career--will be successful. And you will work hard to make it happen. But always be prepared to answer this question, "What if I hit an iceberg?"
Ramon Greenwood, Senior Career Counselor, Common Sense At Work, is a former Senior Vice President of American Express. To subscriber to his f*ee semi-monthly newsletter and blog please go to http://www.CommonSenseAtWork.com/GetItNow
Ramon Greenwood may be contacted at http://www.commonsenseatwork.com or firstname.lastname@example.org