The Kind of Negative Thinking I Like


‘Assume I have failed to achieve my goal – what’s the most likely reason why that would have happened?’

I was perusing my husband’s MBA assignment the other day and came across this question. – Which I loved. Now if you know me, and the work that I do, you might find that strange: ‘Surely Cathy doesn’t like negative thinking and thoughts of failure – let alone assuming failure.’ It is called a pre-mortem exercise! Nevertheless, the question, and the exercise, I love.

It is so intelligent.

So cunning, in the most helpful way.

So good at exposing the fact that we know things about ourselves that ‘we don’t even know’. We have a lot of insight, that we don’t know we have, – until we do. I mean it’s there, somewhere – and this is betrayed when we ask the right question. When we ask a good question. Like this one: Assume you have failed to achieve your goal – what’s the most likely reason why that would have happened?

If we’re doing it like this, I am all about thinking negatively and thinking of failure. (Actually I am all about thinking of failure, worst-case scenaros, and other ‘negative’ things, in a number of different contexts.) Think of it, do. And ask yourself: what would be the most likely reason(s) I would have failed? Even if you think you don’t know, pretend that you do. I promise you, as long as you let yourself say something, you will start to reveal a gold-mine. Mine it.