In my twenty-seven years thus far, this mindset has proven to work for me.
It's not exactly optimistic, I realize.
You may have read that my PE exam is coming up this Friday once or twice (or 637 times). Since it seemed appropriate to do so, I finally read the portion of my review manual entitled, "What to Do a Few Days Before the Exam".
The suggestions seem exhaustive from checking tires pressure on the car, making childcare arrangements, planning alternate roots to the testing facility, to packing a wire coat hanger in the bookbag in case you should need to break into your own car after the test, putting a jeweler's screwdriver with your things in case you need to fix your eyeglasses or calculator midway through the test, and packing pre-unwrapped candies for consumption during the exam.
But it gets better...
The next section is entitled, "Prepare for the Worst".
Apparently, the dude who wrote this manual thinks along the same lines as me. Maybe it's an engineer thing.
I'm not going to type all of the examples out, but I will reiterate a few of my favorites.
Imagine a Star Trek convention, square-dancing contest, construction, or auction in the next room.
Imagine a hard folding chair and a table with one short leg.
Imagine not being able to get your lunch out of your car or find a restaurant.
Imagine someone stealing your calculator during lunch.
Imagine a seat where someone nearby chews gum with an open mouth; tapes his pencil or drums her fingers; or wheezes, coughs, and sneezes for eight hours.
Imagine a site without any heat, with poor lighting, or with sunlight streaming directly into your eyes.
~Civil Engineer Reference Manual for the PE Exam, Michael R. Lindeburg, PEI read them and laughed. He saw my realism and raised it to cynicism. By preparing for the worst, and expecting such, it can only be better than our greatest fears. Right?!
This is why I maintain my expectation to fail. Does that mean I won't work my hardest at it? No. But it means that by expecting notification that I didn't pass sometime around Christmas (I know, right?), I will be oh-so-very pleasantly surprised if I do. And hopefully no more disappointed in the event that I don't.
In the meantime, I think I've picked myself up a new mantra, "Preparing for the worst." (wink, wink)
Does this method of thinking work for you?