Many people use scenario planning as a tool for ensuring they are prepared for all eventualities. No doubt it is valuable in this manner, but there are two even bigger benefits of considering scenarios that are unthinkable:
1. Losing the fear of death
In business we mostly steer clear of consciously thinking through the consequences of total failure. This is understandable: negativity doesn’t get you far, and fear is hardwired into our brain as a self preservation strategy.
Counter-intuitively, the act of thinking through the scenario of failure frees you from the fear of that failure. Why? Because your imagination is always worse than reality, and once you’ve realised that life goes on (unless you’re dead, in which case it doesn’t matter to you what happens), you’ll find a freedom in moving forward that wasn’t there before.
2. Finding the contrarian play
Very few people have made it big by running with the crowd. Most entrepreneurial legends made their bucks by bucking the trend. The only way you can do that is to think of an unthinkable future. For example, few South Africans would argue that our country will be growing at 6% per annum by 2016.
On the face of today’s facts, that is a justifiable assertion. On the other hand, it’s not impossible. And if it were to happen and you’d aligned your business with that contrarian view, then BOOM! You’re a billionaire.