This week I've met a consulting partner who might be the most pessimistic person I know. He had a grim outlook on the economy, the consulting industry, his business and partnerships. I hope he succeeds in his task of growing and leading his firm, but if you'd ask me to bet on its future I'd certainly guess they will struggle.
The thing is: Pessimism is self-fulfilling.
Solo advisors and consulting partners who are busy creating value don't have time to dwell on the thousand negative news that comes up every day. They don't get involved in stupid discussions on social media. They don't lose their heads.
This is not to say we should feel guilty about feeling pessimistic - we're hardwired to think this way. Our brain is the same as our cavemen ancestors. If you’re optimistic and you’re right, you have a small gain. If you’re wrong, you get eaten by a tiger.
Even when we're aware we don't live in caves anymore, the truth is that it’s simply easier to be a pessimist than an optimist. It’s hard to come up with solutions for complex challenges, and even harder to implement them to improve society or our lives. But anyone can extrapolate how things will get worse.
You can't insure yourself against all life's problems. Unforeseen events will, by definition, catch you off-guard. Worrying about those is a natural (and even healthy) behavior for every human being - and in special for entrepreneurs and self-employed consultants.
The biggest question we can ask ourselves here is not "should I worry?", but "how should I worry?" You can find my take on this in this post from last year, written in the middle of the COVID pandemic.