Assume the Best, Plan for the Worst

Since my recent retirement from my full-time job of 24 years, there is a natural progression for me to “take stock” if you will of what lies ahead, my new goals, etc.  One thing I am deeply committed to is the notion of assuming the best, plan for the worst. Let’s explore this.

Planning: for my life, for my RA

I believe that planning is the core of my success, both professionally and personally.  This is especially true with regard to managing RA.  From day one, I have sought out and dug deeply into research around RA, running the gamut from diagnosis to treatment to management and prognosis.  I like to think I have left no stone unturned.  One of the many benefits of this practice is that it has led me to feel confident in my decisions and has made for a very effective, supportive relationship with my care team.  This, in turn, means my RA management is sound and successful for me.  I rarely feel uncertain about a choice I have made.  If it turns out to be wrong, that is OK, because I know I used all of my skills to make the best decision I could at that moment.  I cannot ask for any more than that.

Mental preparation

Part of the planning process for me involves shooting for the best possible outcome while trying to take into account the possibility it may not go well at all - assume the best, plan for the worst.  How do I do that, you likely wonder.  Here is an example.  I had a very serious surgery a few years ago that had several possible outcomes, some good, some not good at all.  My approach was to literally prepare for all of them, both mentally and in terms of what I needed to recover. I made a list of what I would need, depending on the outcome of the surgery.  I used that list to line up items I needed, a care plan, etc.  But, in the back of mind and as a driving force throughout the entire process, I believed I would have the best outcome.  I had no particular reason to believe this, other than blind faith, but believe it I did. I was fortunate that I did have the best outcome. I truly believe that my attitude and planning may well have played a role.  Now I am not naïve enough to think that health outcomes are entirely determined by one’s attitude, but I do believe that they play a role.  Research supports this as well.  Certainly, recovery time has been shown to be shortened and more successful if patients have a positive attitude - assume the best, plan for the worst.

Consider the strategies and tactics

When I say plan for the worst, I simply mean ensure that any strategy you are examining takes into account an outcome that may not be ideal. By doing that, you actually expand the chances of successfully coping, no matter what.  In my case, I had strategies to deal with a myriad of outcomes, so that no matter the result I could still recover in the best circumstances possible.

So, I leave you with the notion that assume the best, plan for the worst may be a strategy worth engaging as you manage RA through the years.


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