I am a pessimist. Given any situation out of my comfort zone I am always preparing for the worst possible outcome. Thinking about every possible scenario, no matter how unlikely it is. Planning what I would do should the worst thing happen. Planning what to do if what I planned before doesn’t work…

Before I started to work remotely for an overseas company I was preparing myself for the possibility of everything being fake and that maybe the company did not even exist.

When I bought my apartment I was extremely worried that the deal would not complete, even though there was not anything pointing in that direction.

When I wanted to renovate the apartment I was first scared that the city council wouldn’t give me the license to do so. And, after that, I was concerning myself with the possibility of the renovation not going well.

Well… As it turns out the company did exist. There was no problem buying the apartment. I got the renovation license very quickly. And the renovation itself went great.

In hindsight, all this was pointless.

How much time did I waste thinking and planning for my own imagined scenarios? How many nights did I wake up thinking and rethinking what would I do if what ended up not happening happened? How much anxiety did I inflict myself without reason?

I am a programmer in my day job. I can make judgement calls on whether something is likely, unlikely or extremely unlikely. I can easily plan for unlikely situations and discard extremely unlikely ones that shouldn’t be considered at the moment.

Somehow I seem unable to do the same in my personal life. I don’t know when I became like this. I guess it was not a sudden change but a gradual one.

I think I can be fixed though. I have become aware of my problem. I am now able to notice when my mind starts rambling and thinking and over planning. I’ve started blocking those thoughts when I identify them. I think that, with some repetition and practice, I will be able reduce (maybe even completely remove) that pessimism in me.

Reality has shown me that it is not worthy to constantly worry about bad, and unlikely, possibilities. That time and energy is much better spent enjoying and living what’s actually happening.

As Marcus Aurelius wrote in the Meditations:

Today, I escaped from anxiety. Or no, I discarded it, because it was within me, in my own perceptions: not outside.

Or, in a more literally vein, as Frank Herbert wrote in Dune:

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

Let’s stop fearing. Let’s stop worrying. Let’s live.