The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.

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What Is A 'Doomsday Scenario'?

A Doomsday Scenario is a Counterfactual Simulation where you ask the question: "what's the worst that could happen?"

Doomsday Scenarios are intentionally pessimistic to make you realize that in most cases, you'll be okay even if things go wrong. Remember: most threats nowadays are no longer life-or-death situations.

By Externalizing your worst fears, you realize what they really are: irrational overreactions.

Once you've imagined the Doomsday Scenario, you can work to improve upon the worst case.

Josh Kaufman Explains 'Doomsday Scenarios'

If you're in Threat Lockdown, it's hard to get anything done-your mind is fixated on the threat, imagining scenes that feel like a bad horror movie.

Let's say you're thinking of starting a business, but you lock up with anxiety whenever you think about striking out on your own. You imagine quitting your job, investing a lot of money building something that doesn't work, going bankrupt, and becoming homeless. You won't be able to get another job, everyone will hate you, and you'll spend the rest of your days living in a van down by the river.

How do you encourage your brain to stop trying to protect you if it's clearly overreacting? A Doomsday Scenario is a Counterfactual Simulation where you assume everything that can go wrong does go wrong.

What if you don't complete the project on time? What if your plan doesn't work? What if you lose everything? What if they all laugh at you? Doomsday Scenarios are pessimistic for a reason-they help you realize that, in most circumstances, you're going to be okay.

Caveman Syndrome means our ancient brains tend to be overdramatic, and treat every potential threat in life-or-death terms.

The reason we get so stressed out is that our brains Interpret losing resources, diminishing in status, or being rejected as threats to our survival.

That may have been true a long time ago, but it's not anymore. Now, you can lose money, screw up, or be rejected hundreds of times a day-and live to tell the tale.

When you actually define your worst fears, you'll likely discover that things won't be as bad as you fear.

Creating a Doomsday Scenario is the equivalent of giving a small child who is afraid of monsters under their bed a flashlight-by shedding some light on the subject of their fears, they realize there's really nothing to be afraid of at all.

By intentionally Externalizing and defining your worst fears, you're exposing them as what they really are: irrational overreactions. More often than not, you'll discover that you were scared of something that doesn't really matter.

Even if something bad goes wrong, it's not really going to be as bad you think. As soon as you realize you're not going to die, you're free to do much more than you previously dared to do.

Once you've imagined your Doomsday Scenario, you can start doing things to improve upon the worst case.

If you're starting a business, you can start to define the actual risks and make plans to mitigate them. Instead of being a victim of your fears, you can use them constructively.

Construct your Doomsday Scenario, and you can make your over-dramatic brain work with you, instead of against you.

Questions About 'Doomsday Scenarios'


"What looks large from a distance, close up ain't never that big."

Bob Dylan, songwriter and musician


From Chapter 7:

Working With Yourself


https://personalmba.com/doomsday-scenario/



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The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.

Buy the book:


About Josh Kaufman

Josh Kaufman is an acclaimed business, learning, and skill acquisition expert. He is the author of two international bestsellers: The Personal MBA and The First 20 Hours. Josh's research and writing have helped millions of people worldwide learn the fundamentals of modern business.

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