Very rarely does anyone genuinely surprise me. After you've moved in with strangers on three separate occasions in four years, the threshold for the ability of humans to raise my eyebrows is higher than Snoop Dogg in Amsterdam on a Stag party. However, during a recent perusal of the Guardian's website, I found myself being rather impressed by an interview with Jimmy Carr.
He says: "If you fixate on the worst-case scenario and it actually happens, you've lived it twice: once in your mind and once when it happens. Deal with it once, then move on."
This wonderful, albeit succinct, piece of advice overtook the thousands of 'don't worry's that I have ever been told and has resounded in my mind. For someone who has a tendency to 'what if' as frequently as she breathes, for the first time in my life I found myself envying Jimmy Carr.
It made me think about how automatic the worst-case scenario response is to the prospect of everyday situations. 'What if'-ing is a common symptom of anxiety disorders, but I'm certain that it's rife among non-sufferers, too. Yet, in situations where we fear the worst scenario that our imaginations can concoct happening, very rarely does life ever pan out that way. Why is it that fixating on worst case scenarios is such a common behaviour? Is it negativity, cynicism or merely a form of preparedness?
I'm not sure if this is a habit that eventually reinforces the fact that the worst doesn't always happen. Having just celebrated 22 years of thinking the worst, experiencing a series of not so unfortunate events is still yet to allay the negative thought patterns I, and many others, experience.
It's fair to say that the worst case scenario thoughts most often happen when there is more to lose. There is actually a school of thought saying that some people are scared of being successful, i.e the best case scenario. In conclusion: you can't win. If only it were as easy of Carr let's us think.
My fear now is that this was a useless blog post. However, I may have just found deeper meanings to the famous quote:
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" - Charles Dickens