An unexpected outcome

Sometimes we get carried away and create ideas for how we think that situations will play out. We predict our futures through the lense of the worst case scenario, telling ourselves we’re simply being practical. The reality is that it is a form of protection that leads to self sabotage.

Although it is said that having low expectations avoids disappointment, it can also be a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe things will turn out badly, you’re likely to start acting in a way that supports that and it will end up coming true.

However, sometimes life gives us an unexpected outcome as a reminder that things can be different but more specifically that things can be better.

Adding new features vs making things better

When changes get made to something it usually involves adding a new feature, improving an existing one or both.

But sometimes the addition of something new isn’t helpful, you’d be better off improving what’s already there. Often adding something new is about innovation and creativity which doesn’t always result in an improved experience for the user or customer.

There can end up being so much focus on the exciting stuff that the basics get pushed aside.

Le’ts say you sell plain t-shirts and the stitching is poor quality to the point where it’s loose. You could improve what is already there by making the stitching better on the next batch or you could add something new like embroidery, a new neckline or a different length.

If you’re focused on adding new things you’ll end up with a poor quality t-shirt with embroidery on it when you could have had a good quality t-shirt that is plain. Once you get the basics right, you’re now in a better position to start adding new features.

Better together

Sometimes when you’re so used to being independent and doing things alone, the idea of collaboration and working together is unappealing. After all, your past has shown that you don’t need to work with someone else to get things done, so why should you change that.

However, sometimes from collaborating with others it allows us to focus on our strengths. We’re then able to produce something that is much better than if we were to try and do everything.

For example, lets say that you work in product photography/prop styling.

A job may require someone to source props, someone to come up with a theme and provide creative direction, the stylist who puts the props together and then a photographer to take the photos.

Just because you can do all those jobs yourself, doesn’t mean you should. You may be an amazing prop stylist but if you’re not really a photographer maybe working with one would help you produce better results. And of course you can learn new skills but sometimes trying to split yourself between too many things just reduces your ability to do any one thing well. This then brings brings down the overall quality of the final result.

And so, maybe it’s worth shifting our perspective to realise that sometimes things might be good when we do them alone but they’ll be better if we do them together.

When to hold ’em

…and when to fold ’em.

I know next to nothing about Poker but I love this phrase.

When you have the choice to either stick with something and hope for the best or to bow out and move on, it can be difficult. Sometimes we end up believing that we should stick with things until we’ve ‘fixed’ them. Or we tell ourselves that we should keep going even when it’s clear that things aren’t working well.

We think we’re doing the right thing when really we’re just making ourselves a little bit more miserable as days go by.

In contrast, walking away sounds too much like we’re giving up, that’s the reason we won’t do it.

And like that phrase goes, better the devil you know. There’s always this fear of walking away and ending up in a situation that leaves you worse off than when you started.

But that outlook is so bleak and unhelpful, perhaps it is seen as realism. However, it’s always important to consider that things might not get worse, they might actually get better.

Getting what you want

As much as you may say you want certain things, you might not want them as much as you think you do.

For example, wanting a dog but not wanting the extra responsibility required. It could be wanting a promotion but not the mentoring and leadership you’ll be required to give to colleagues once you’re higher up in the company.

It can actually end up being for the best to not get what you want because when you get it you won’t really want it. Sometimes we only realise this in hindsight. However, I like to believe that is the reason why certain things just don’t work out.

It might be frustrating in the moment but you’ll be much better off getting what you want instead of getting what you think you want.

The way things were

Sometimes it helps to take a few steps back and return to the way things were. We often perceive this to be a negative thing as though we have regressed. However, it might actually be the case that the way you used to do things was much better.

So often we search for better or new because we don’t know what’s out there. And so we turn away from what we know and venture out to see what else is on offer. Sometimes we find other great options or ways of doing things but other times we end longing for what once was.

It’s normal to want to explore and try new things but perhaps you’ll ending up finding that the way things were is exactly how you want them to be.

When your best isn’t good enough

In a recent post, I wrote about how sometimes your best isn’t good enough. However, I think that idea requires further thought and explanation because it’s not as simple as it may seem.

To be told that your best isn’t good enough can be a difficult pill to swallow, it can be disheartening. Your best isn’t something rigid that can’t be changed, yet we often perceive it that way.

Instead of thinking that it’s your best overall, think of it as your current best. You’re current best is flexible, it’s something that can be changed and improved upon.

And so, if it’s not good enough right now, it can get better.

Failed expectations

Sometimes the way you envision things in your mind isn’t quite the way they pan out in real life.

It can be difficult to accept when things don’t turn out the way you expected them to. But this only really happens when reality fails your expectations. On the flipside when you’re expectations are surpassed you’re happy, you don’t question it.

The reason failed expectations bother us so much is because we allowed ourselves to get excited at the thought of something we want to happen. Then, when reality falls short we’re now disappointed because we know how things could have panned out and things could have turned out much better.

Good enough for right now

Not everything will be perfect and not everything needs to be.

Sometimes all you need to do is focus on making something that is good enough for right now.

Maybe, you can make it better later or maybe good enough is all that it needs to be.

If that’s the case, any time spent making it amazing isn’t time well spent. Instead of stressing to make it better, try focusing your efforts and energy on something that needs to be much better than just good enough.

Assuming the worst

Often when when we face a new situation that involves uncertainty, we automatically assume the worst. We make up a story about how bad it’ll be, how everything will go wrong and how maybe we’d have been better off if things stayed the way they were.

But, change is inevitable and so you have to learn to get used it.

The funny thing about these situations is that, we prepare ourselves for the worst but things never turn out as bad as we think they might.

In fact, things often turn out much better.