Strategy: Thinking of Every Single Thing That Could Go Wrong in Advance, in the Belief That, if I Have Thought of Something That Could Go Wrong, It Won’t Actually Happen
Example: in advance of a complicated travel itinerary, if I go over all the ways I could fuck it up (or it could get fucked up without any input from me), everything will go smoothly—i.e., I could hit traffic on the way to the airport and be late for my flight, check-in could take forever, TSA could take forever, they could change my gate at the last minute, my flight could be delayed and I could miss my connection, at the other end my bag could not arrive, I could be late for the last train, and so on.
Rating: 1 star
Davis’s Notes: This one actually makes me anxious just reading it, but a lot of people use this strategy, even me. This might be less of a strategy and more an example of anxiety. Tolerating uncertainty is something most people struggle with in one way or another. What’s interesting is that, while you may not like uncertainty, you do a lot of things that entail a good amount of it—climbing, ultramarathons, traveling. For those of us who can get loaded down by uncertainty, I find it helps to first acknowledge the unknowns of the situation we are facing. But don’t stop there. Actively pull your mind to times when you accomplished something in a similar situation or another time that things went well even when there was an unexpected setback or challenge. Remind yourself that you’re capable of managing changes and challenges, even when you cannot control all of the variables.