Tip: Hope for the best; plan for the worst.


The older I get, the more of a realist I become. I have lived long enough to see that having an optimistic, positive attitude is the best way to go through life. However, at the same time, I must be realistic about the situations that often arise in everyday life.

We do not live in a perfect world. We live in a world filled with mistakes, sudden unexpected interruptions, heartache, death, and other disappointing situations. That is realistic.

While I choose not to focus on the negative aspects of life, neither do I ignore them. I have come to see they are just a natural part of life. To close my eyes to that fact would be unwise. Yet, I want to be the most positive, optimistic person possible. So, where is the reality in this dilemma? It lies in the title of this week’s Tip: Hope for the best; plan for the worst.

When I use the word “hope,” I am not talking about crossing my fingers and wishing for things to work out miraculously. The term “hope” means “looking forward to.” When I say, “I hope to see you next week, ” I mean that I look forward to seeing you. It does not necessarily carry with it the suggestion that maybe I will and maybe I won’t. I realize it can be used in that way. However, when I say “Hope for the best,” I mean plan for the best; look forward to the best; expect things to work out in a good, positive manner. Is that not what we expect when we get married, start a business, or have children? We should have a “looking forward to” or an “earnest expectation” that everything will work out just fine.

However, when I say, “Plan for the worst,” I do not mean that we plan for trouble with a negative, bitter, angry spirit either. It is just that we need to be wise.

I once heard that jet fighter pilots spend about 10% of their training time learning how to fly their aircraft correctly and about 90% learning how to handle complex, dangerous situations. After all, they are flying a machine full of fuel and missiles, and part of that machine is already on fire! I read one article written by a military pilot who said he always watched the instrument panel so he would know that the missiles he carried were securely fastened to the plane until he was ready to release them. He also carefully observed the mechanism that could eject him from the airplane. In other words, he always had his eyes on things that could go wrong.

The people who climb Mt. Everest say that the entire trip is planned around danger and what could go wrong. Months are spent in preparation, planning what equipment and food to take, and waiting for the right weather for their climb. But there is always the possibility of a storm arising at any moment.

You see, great pilots, as well as great mountain climbers, hope for the best but plan for the worst!

I am doing everything I can to have a good, positive, optimistic, uplifting, informative, encouraging, happy, and joyful attitude about my life, business, and relationships. However, I also carry insurance policies, save money for unexpected expenses, eat right, exercise, and drive carefully. (Well, I am working on the driving carefully part. In my “other life,” I must have been a race car driver!)

I want to have the best life possible, don’t you? I have experienced that this kind of wisdom and counsel will work best for all of us! I know it is working for me. I know it will work for you, too!

Tip: Hope for the best; plan for the worst.

Have a great week! God bless you!

Dr. Robert A. Rohm

Dr. Robert A. Rohm, Ph.D.

Dr. Robert A. Rohm, Ph.D.

Top selling author and speaker, Robert Rohm Ph.D. is founder of Personality Insights Inc. and The Robert Rohm Co. As you will see, Dr. Rohm specializes in helping people better understand themselves and others.