Are You Prepared For Your Financial Failure?

Visualize Failure - 2020 Stock Market Crash

Visualizing Failure – The Best Way To Prepare For Anything.

Imagine This Financial Worst-Case-Scenario:

You have just reached Financial Independence. Your net worth has crossed your magic number and you are finally able to cover 25x your annual expenses. You are financially independent and you now only plan to work one more year to pad your independence.

You celebrate by having a toast with your significant other that night, and you go to bed happy!

The next day you wake up, go about your business, but then the unthinkable has happened and you hear that the market has crashed!

Down 30%!!!!

You are no longer financially independent.

You are temporarily f*cked. It’ll be another three years before you can even think about retirement again.

But you don’t panic. You don’t sell.

Because you’ve already visualized this exact event happening

But here is the great news -> by visualizing a market crash ahead of time, you were able to plan and act accordingly.

Now, if this was to ACTUALLY happen, you are already prepared for the worst:

  • You would not panic sell if the market dipped 30% overnight.
  • You would not do ANYTHING.
  • You would stay the course.
  • You are prepared.

And in the end, you’d come out stronger and in a better place than those who didn’t visualize this scenario to begin with!

Of course, we all had the opportunity to live this in real-time in 2020. We didn’t have to visualize the crash, because we lived through it:

Photo Credit: RITHOLTZ Wealth

So almost every investor, even relatively new ones has seen the ups and downs of markets.

And hopefully, you reacted positively and did nothing! Or perhaps you were in a position where you put extra cash into the market near the bottom and reaped the rewards!

The bottom line here is that if you practice visualizing the crash in your head from time to time, you will be much better prepared to handle it mentally. You have already been through it. Again. And Again.

Are you mentally prepared for another market crash? What is your game plan?

Visualize ALL Your Failures

Negative visualizations clearly can be useful to help prepare for a market crash scenario, but how about everyday life?

How about a regular run-of-the-mill conversation with our boss, friend, family, or significant other?

If you have a difficult conversation you need to initiate, close your eyes and imagine it going horribly wrong. Visualize yourself saying the wrong thing.

In your mind, see the other person responding callously. Watch the whole thing blow up. Don’t just think about it; try to feel it. Experience the adrenaline flow. Notice your heart beating. Sense the disappointment.

Okay. Now, open your eyes and realize that you’ve been through the worst of it. Chances are, the conversation won’t go as badly as you’ve just imagined. And if it does, you’ve just experienced what you’ll feel like, and you know what? You survived. It’s only uphill from here.

Visualize Failure – Harvard Business Review

By visualizing failure in advance of the failure, you have been through the worst of it.

As the author, Peter Bregman states, “you survived. It’s only uphill from here.”

I wish that this was something that I had done prior to having a particularly hard discussion with my brother. I anticipated that the conversation would go well, but I hadn’t thought through the worst-case scenario.

Because of that, I wasn’t prepared and I didn’t say the right things. Unfortunately, I made the situation worse.

In hindsight, proper preparation visualizaion could have made all the difference.

Visualizing Failure To Assist With Goal Setting

Organic Authority, has a great post on visualizing failure to properly ensure that you identify pitfalls in your plan and make adjustments before you start down the path towards a goal.

For example, Shilo the author says:

Visualize yourself living in the future, but having failed to follow through on your goal.

Ask yourself this: Why did you fail? Write down the specific reasons why you failed at your goal. Brainstorm the excuses you will tell yourself if you fail:

The Smart Goal Setting Trick You Have to Try: Visualize Failure

In the article, Shilo is talking about a goal of losing “20 pounds in six months”.

But after visualizing failure, you can envision that “I didn’t have a healthy eating plan and thought that I could wing it.”

In this case, this negative visualization should prompt you to build a better plan to support the goal.

There Are Endless Visualizations To Be Made

We should all embrace visualizing failure in our everyday lives.

Doomsday preppers may not have it all wrong. They are prepared!

We aren’t. If/when civilization was to collapse, they have a plan. I don’t.

Perhaps we’ll never need to have prepared for doomsday, but I certainly want to visualize failure more:

  • I want to visualize worst-case scenarios in my early retirement withdrawal plans.
  • I want to visualize failure in a hard conversation with my wife, so that I can better react.
  • I want to visualize failure in the next conversation with my brother so that I can have a better outcome in the future.
  • I want to visualize Bitcoin and Ethereum tanking right after I invested in them.

Now, please give me a moment to go and update my personal financial plan

Visualizing The Failure of Your Business

Every business should visualize failure to ensure that it can face real-life market scenarios.

If you are running any business on the web, you NEED to have have a disaster recovery plan (DRP).

And every business should have a Business Continuity Plan (BCP).

Think through worst-case scenarios. Prepare in advance!

The better you are prepared, the more likely it is for your company to weather the storm.

Final Thoughts

If the pandemic taught us anything, it is that worst-case scenarios can and do happen.

But with proper planning and mental exercise, we can visualize the outcomes ahead of time and be much better prepared.

In the end, it is those who have the foresight to visualize their failures who will come out stronger.

Sometimes the worst does happen and the best way to prepare for it is to visualize it!

Updated: May 24, 2024

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