Before doing anything, first imagine the worst possible outcome.
Second, voluntarily accept the possibility.
Third, expect it to happen.
Fourth, move on.
In my experience this elicits some of the worst reactions others have towards Stoicism, but it’s actually my favorite part!
Example: you’re strung up and about to be executed by gunshot. Absolutely nothing you could do about it. What would you do?
Well, there’s not much point in tensing up, so you might as well relax, right? Accept, embrace, and hug the possibility.
This is what imagining and accepting the worst case scenario feels like to me. I have little, if any, influence over most outcomes, so I might as well relax into the worst possible outcome.
Of course, I don’t want this to occur, and I’ll still be cautious. If I can work against it I will, but I accept its existence as a possibility. It becomes no longer an unknown-unknown.
Notice the possibility, expect it, embrace it.
Relax like you’re about to be executed.
Thanks to Emily Fan, Ariana Dyer, and Selena Zhang for reviewing the draft of this.