Assumption is one of the key influences in anxiety. Most anxious people are anxious for the simple fact that they not only assume the worst, but they also believe in them. They have this tendency to think and gather the information that would convince them that the worst is true.
The truth is… Whatever you think is true, most of the time is not what’s actually happening.
I (Samuel) have experienced the cost of overthinking. Whether it’s in my business or personal life, I always like to assume the worst to prepare myself for the worst. Although, it would also mean I would get anxious for the worst. This drains my energy completely. I would spend day and night just thinking of the situation while waiting for it to happen.
How I wrongfully assumed a client’s attitude
I once had this call with a client who wouldn’t respect my sales process when I was running my house painting business. During the call, she rudely told me to just skip my “little sales pitch” when I arrive at her house and give her a quote right away. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do at that point, but I definitely panicked. Statistically speaking, a client like this just wants to look at a price and never get back to you with an answer. I was very sure that she would have the same rude attitude when we meet in person and all of this would end up in a big argument where I’ll eventually just walk out the door empty-handed. Talk about a big waste of time. I had to call my business coach about the situation to mentally prepare myself right before I knock at her door.
What ended up happening will surprise you.
Turns out this woman was not as rude as I thought she would be. We bonded quite nicely when we talked about her life instead of the actual project (a conversation I did not anticipate). The estimate also lasted longer than my average estimate due to this long conversation about her too! I was the one who had to tell her that we need to move on in the discussion. I think you can guess it already. She ended up booking with me on the same day!
That day was eye-opening for me. The woman that was on the phone was nothing like the woman I was talking to during the estimate. I learned a huge lesson that day.
What I learned that day
You never know what to expect. We often think we know everything, but sometimes the opposite ends up happening. The best thing to do is just to not assume. Take a step back. Go out for some air and come back when you’re thinking of something different. The best way to conquer a challenge is to not think of it and just do it. When you overthink, you’re only causing pain to yourself. This applies to every sticky situation you might get yourself into in the course of your life.
A lot may think that this is easier said than done. I totally agree with you. If we tell you to not think about elephants, what comes to your mind? Elephants right? The best you can do in this situation is actively tell yourself that everything will be fine and you will only have to worry when the time comes.
The Self-fulfilling prophecy
We will cover this more in detail in a separate post, however, I still find it relevant to this post. Let me explain. The self-fulfilling prophecy is described as “the sociopsychological phenomenon of someone “predicting” or expecting something, and this “prediction” or expectation coming true simply because the person believes it will and the person’s resulting behaviors align to fulfill the belief.” (“Self-Fulfilling prophesy“, 2021) This means that whenever you think negatively of your situation, you will end up making it a reality. The opposite applies as well. This is why you should assume nothing or the best. Nothing less.
Think of the times when your thoughts have influenced your actions. Maybe it’s that job you’re trying to book? I know a salesman who just started his own business. Professional, however not very confident. He goes into this estimate and the first thing he notices is that the clients don’t seem too interested in what he has to offer. They were looking at him funny. They always cut him off when he’s speaking. And mostly they want to look at other contracts after him as well.
What happens next?
He panicked, stopped smiling, skips steps during the sales process, lost focus, and ended up not booking the project. He ended up complaining to me that the people were very rude and not interested at all.
Now think of how differently this situation would have gotten if he didn’t assume negatively so quickly? I already told you about my situation with my “rude” client. The best thing to do is to stay focused and do what you have to do regardless of the situation. If he would have better control of himself, he may get closer to the result he wanted. He would not panic, not stop smiling, not skip steps, not lose focus, and might end up booking the job.
A lesson for all
I’m not saying that the best outcome will always come when you think positively. There’s a certain point where you do have to re-evaluate the situation and move on. However, a wise person would at least give it a shot without fearing failure. As the quote states:
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”
So get out there. Don’t assume. You never know what’s going to happen until it actually happens.
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- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. (2021, September 10). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-fulfilling_prophecy