Some people say that writers and others should always focus on the positive. If you think about failure, you attract it. On the other hand, the book 'Great by Choice' says that one of the important characteristics of companies that thrive during tough times is "productive paranoia."
They recognise that "it's what they do before the storm comes that matters most."
Some people would consider it negative thinking to consider what might go wrong.
Some even are disturbed by the suggestion to think about what did go wrong, what was responsible, and how to do it better next time.
I had an item about that in my November Brainstorm & Focus ebulletin. I received an email from a subscriber saying this approach is what keeps her from taking risks and that my suggestion had dashed her hopes.
Of course anything I say on this blog or in my bulletin or in my books is just a suggestion. It will work for some people, maybe most people. But nothing I say has the power to dash anybody's hopes--or at least they shouldn't give it that power.
My advice: expect the best, prepare for the worst.
Should you listen to me?
THE ONLY EXPERT
When I first went to Hollywood with the intention of breaking into writing scripts, I had lots of "helpful" advice:
* "It's too competitive. You'll run out of money before you break in."
* "It's all about who you know. If you don't have any contacts [and I didn't], you don't stand a chance."
* "If you give up your safe job now, there's no guarantee you'll be able to get it back. It's too risky, stay put."
Those came from friends and relatives wanting to help me avoid disappointment. Of course at the same time they would have helped me avoid success.
They weren't entirely wrong. It was very competitive, people with contacts did have an advantage, and there was no guarantee that my old job would still be there if I failed.
They were all people with no experience of what I hoped to do so it was not so hard to ignore their advice. However, once I got to Los Angeles even people working in show business gave conflicting advice:
* Focus on writing TV / focus on writing movies.
* Write a spec (sample) script for a TV series that exists already / write a script for an original idea.
* Try to get an agent with a large agency that has more power / try to get an agent with a smaller agency where you'll get more attention.
I flailed around for a while but eventually I figured out which advice suited me, based on my strengths and weaknesses as well as what was most in demand.
Sometimes I encounter people who have stopped themselves from writing or pursuing some other dream because of the advice they got. Maybe it's a self-selecting process: those who want something badly enough will ignore all the potential roadblocks and go for it. Yes,some will fail but I wonder whether even they feel better knowing they gave it their best shot.
You are the only expert on yourself.
Some of us will offer suggestions and advice based on our experience.
Only you can decide whether to take it.