Futurist pessimism: a new strategy for starting a project

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Robert Maurer
@robertmaurer
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I am not crazy, at least I think, you have read perfectly: “pessimism can turn into a powerful tool that pushes us to undertake a new project”. What do I mean? When we are re-thinking about a new project that seduces us, we usually fail to think clearly and objectively and make mistakes due to excessive optimism. Being optimistic, I mean too optimistic, means that we often overestimate our abilities and potential in facing the different tasks and this leads us to minimize the difficulties and barriers that we will encounter along the way. Thus, we will create a draft plan that is not reflected in reality and does not contemplate the possible difficulties, let alone the potential solutions. It is not strange then that the project ends in failure before it even starts. This is objective reality. In our subjective reality another storm approaches; when we see that the project will require further commitment, dedication, effort and investment, much more than we had anticipated, and that barriers arise that we have not been able to foresee, then it is normal that we become pessimistic and end up feeling unmotivated and ready to abandon the project. Perhaps one of the few sentences of Macchiavelli with which I agree is: "the best defense is the attack" and this implies that when we start a project, although we will have to face it with a good dose of optimism, it will have to be a realistic type of optimism that allows us to glimpse all the possible barriers that can separate us from success. We already know that many times we let ourselves be guided by expectations, so I believe that the best strategy is: "to work putting all our strength and abilities into it as if to achieve great success but expect to have a much lesser success". There is a model that I consider highly effective when planning how our future will be: Weaknesses, Threats, Strengths and Opportunities.- Weaknesses: what factors intrinsic to ourselves can represent a barrier? Of course, none of us are a reservoir of unlimited skills and expertise. When we undertake a project we will also have to take into account which of our characteristics (whether of a personological order, in interpersonal relationships or referring to certain professional skills) could cause our plans to fall. At this point it is necessary to know in depth what peculiarities our project requires and thus be able to be objective when we evaluate our suitability for it.- Strength: what potential do we have? We will include below only our existing resources or those that we will be able to develop with a 90% probability, whether cognitive, professional or material. It is not worth lying to ourselves, the more objective we are in our analysis the better chance of success our project will have.- Threats: what dangers can the environment reserve for us? At this point we will have to try to be pessimistic or to objectively assess which characteristics of the environment could turn into a barrier that prevents us from achieving our goals. Sometimes it is necessary to recognize a percentage of danger to each barrier because it could be that we meet only one on the way but that this has enormous dimensions. Let's take an example: if we want to open a small shop in a certain sector but we know that some large companies already have similar projects, perhaps the best option would be to propose a collaboration to one of them that is satisfactory for both of us or to totally review ours. project so as not to run the risk of failing in an attempt to sustain a competition that we cannot resist.- Chance: what positive factors that depend on the environment can help us with the project? We will also have to list the environmental factors that may be in favor and of course, do not forget about these for the duration of the project but rather subject them to constant monitoring with the aim of identifying any variations that may harm us. Sometimes special situations arise that can give a good impetus to the project, it is important to learn to glimpse these moments.If we give a percentage (in relation to the greater or lesser incidence in the success or continuation of the project) to each of the factors we are listing in every aspect, in the end we will be able to obtain a fairly complete picture of the feasibility of our plans. 'environment and implement a great plan that we will be completing step by step, then, the chances of failure will be considerably reduced
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