My brain is funny sometimes. I have this thing that whenever there’s an issue with anything I’m involved in, I immediately start feeling like I’m doing a bad job.
That issue can be minor, like a one-day drop in sales or traffic, or it can be major, like when we lost 50% of our revenue a few years back. My reaction is always the same.
When things go badly, I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing and should probably get a job (instead of trying out this entrepreneurship thing). Of course, just mere days before – when things are going well – I feel really smart!
My brain is basically rewarding or punishing me based on some events happening (somewhat) randomly, which may have nothing to do with my actual long-term performance.
I’ve been having similar thoughts in the difficult times we’re living in right now. Working in IT, myself and lots of other people haven’t been affected that much. Some companies have even seen their sales grow.
Many of us have been working remotely for years (myself included) so our work environments haven’t changed that much either.
So, have we managed to prepare better than anyone else?
The short answer is no.
I’ve been observing my brain trying to build narratives backward, looking for past decisions that brought me to this point. I must have done something smart, something that helped, right?
Not really, not in this case. Mostly, it’s just luck.
I’m no smarter than I was just a few months ago and no smarter than people who work in travel, events, or other industries that got hit the most. I’ve just picked a different industry to begin with.
I’m trying to actively reject those thoughts of reward / punishment based on current events. I am grateful for the specific situation I’m in, don’t get me wrong, but I do realize that most of it is by chance.
Over time, rewarding your lucky choices only makes you take even more chances in the future, even when odds are against – which might not be ideal.