Because if you're anything like me, you are very proficient in creating mental disaster scenarios (that never actually happen but that you run down nonetheless), but less fluent in telling yourself stories in which things work out better than you could ever have imagined and you live happily ever after, or that at least work out fine. 

The disaster-scenario thing is human nature, a survival instinct from a bygone era during which our forbears who heard rustling in the bush and assumed that it was, say, a bear, survived; whereas the one who assumed it was a bird, well, let's say they're no longer with us. Even when it wasn't a bear, the one who made up the story that it *was* a bear had an advantage. The ones who spooked easiest were more likely to live. In that respect we have all descended from scaredy cats, which makes our ability to tell negative stories particularly well developed. 

I know stories. When I worked in corporate yet longed to be a writer, I would sit in the sunroom of my beautiful 4-bedroom home, never having missed a bill or a meal, and yet convince myself that if I became a writer I would be destitute and homeless. I would make up these stories as I lay on the sofa, while listening to comforting music and sparrows chirping outside the window of my sunroom. My heart would be racing and everything -- all based on a story. Once I even walked through every room of my home and identified what I would take with me if I did, in fact, end up homeless. This helped me get clear on what was important -- my journals, family photos, genealogical research, art, rugs and writing -- and what was not: any of the clothes, shoes or other stuff I have accumulated so that somehow one person's stuff now fills every closet in a house meant for four. (That's a subject for a different post.)

Fortunately, the writer in me knows that I can just delete the last story and create a new one. It's as simple as hitting the backspace key. However, sometimes it takes my family and good friends to redirect my attention away from the disaster du jour and to remind me to imagine a happy ending (see 49 GOING ON 50 MENTORING TIP #4: Build the family you want to have, wherever you are, consisting of the people you want to be related to). 

Overcoming this human instinct in a society that profits from keeping us fearful (read: it encourages us to buy dogs, guns, gates, security systems, houses in "better" neighborhoods away from people who we imagine to be different from us, etc.) takes discipline. It has taken me years to progress as far as I have. But disaster scenarios that once kept me stuck for years now run their course in about 60 seconds and I laugh at the while they play. Ah, progress! 

And now having practiced creating stories with amazing endings for about 15 years, I'm discovering that the things I imagine and work towards turn into my life. But that's a whole 'nother post for a whole 'nother day.

What are your thoughts and experiences with this?