My Rules: 4. Always Expect The Worst And Always Hope For The Best

“I’m beginning to think that to hope isn’t the same as to expect something. To hope is to believe that life is an acceptable chaos.” – Goenawan Mohamad

“I smile at every circumstance that comes my way because I don’t expected life to be an easy journey.” – Edmond Mbiaka

Murphy’s Law states that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. I hold that to be true, but I also hold the contrary to be true: anything that can go right, will go right. This rule calls for preparation for the Murphy’s Law, while also calling for maintaining a positive mindset in hope of things going right. In that, this rule is one of the cornerstone rules following a similar theme of my rules: taking responsibility for your life.

This is a continuation of my series about My Rules.


Car camped out in front of boulders
Camp spot at Willow Springs

My lifestyle falls somewhere between primitive living and modern living. I find this to absolutely wonderful, but it raises interesting points. I don’t learn the primitive survival skills quite as much as those living more primitively. I don’t have the need. However, I utilize survival skills on a more regular basis than the next person, as a way of life. In many ways, I get to practice my survival skills on a daily basis, simply as a lifestyle.

This is wonderful to me. However, how does this fit in on this rule, exactly? Amazingly simply, actually! This rule, itself, is a survival tool. Not only is it a survival tool, but it dictates survival itself in many ways. As such, it dictates my life in many ways. So, let’s explore this rule as a survival tool.

Expecting the worst should absolutely not be a negative thing. Expecting the worst is all about proper preparation.

IMG_3038I don’t go on a 3 mile hike alone into the wilderness without being prepared to survive at least 3 days. Would it be a comfortable 3 days? Hell no! It would be a really, terribly miserable 3 days. If I wanted to be comfortable, I would have a much different pack on my back. But I minimize the fear of death if I get stuck out there longer than anticipated. That is invaluable!

How does expecting the worst help me to prepare like this, though? Many ways!

First of all, preparation starts long before the hike is even a thought. I prepare by experimenting and practicing all of my first-aid and survival skills on a regular basis. I know how to start a fire if all else fails. I know how to splint my leg or arm, and get myself moving again. These, and many others, are skills I practice, to some degree or another.

Second, expecting the worst, I make sure someone can know that I’m going, and where I’m going. I usually give some timeline of when I’ll be back. I’m often not very specific–“Hopefully before sunset!”–but enough to give a heads up. And I let them know when I’m back, safe. Actually, I do this with my whole life. I let people know where I am, where I’m going, and when I’m safely in, when/where that is possible.

Third, I take supplies. Whether that’s just an extra jacket I don’t definitely need, some extra food and water, my first-aid/surival kit, etc. I take it. Enough to survive things going wrong. I’m prepared for it, because I anticipated and expected the worst.

IMG_1090But this all seems so negative! What about that hoping for the best part?

Well, that hoping for the best part is even more important. Although I’m prepared for the worst, and even if the worst does happen, I’m hoping for the best. I’m always maintaining a positive attitude and mindset. No matter what happens. The one great thing that may save my life may be around the corner. Or the whole trip might be absolutely amazing, with absolutely nothing going wrong at all! I am certainly going to hold on to every shred of hope for that positive outcome that I can find! Because even more than all of my preparation, that positive attitude is what will keep me alive, what will keep me going!


IMG_2128So, all of that survival mumbo-jumbo. That’s great. But my rules aren’t just for specific scenarios. They’re meant to be broad. Applicable to nearly everything in life (ignoring the exceptions!). And this rule works for everything!

I’m going to expect that my campsites will be inaccessible. I’m going to expect and prepare for terrible situations with friends and family. I’m going to expect the absolute worst, and prepare for that absolute worst. At the least, I won’t be surprised when it works against me. I’ll be prepared for it.

Meanwhile, I’m hoping for the best. I’m hoping that things are so wonderful, I’m driven to tears of absolute joy. I’m hoping that I fall in love, and the universe holds me close. I’m hoping to make it everywhere safely, without even the slightest concern. I’m hoping for the best.

Perhaps all of life is an acceptable chaos. Perhaps it is even more than that. Perhaps all of life is an exquisite, mind-blowing, orgasmic chaos. A twisting cauldron of terrible things happening, mixed in with the unimaginable joy surpassing imagination. Perhaps that is exactly the way it should be!

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