“Prepare for the worst, hope for the best” is a stoic proverb to help you remain hopeful in the face of adversity. It’s a popular idiom used in modern language, and the chances are that you hear this phrase more often than you realize.
“Prepare for the worst hope for the best” involves the use of the word prepare. Preparation is a key part of life, helping us create a buffer for unexpected events in the future. Hope is an emotion that we hold onto when we’re experiencing difficulty in our lives.
Prepare for the Worst Hope for the Best – Meaning
“Prepare for the worst hope for the best” is an idiom, or more of a proverb, describing a mindset. Preparing for life events that might be somewhat unexpected might seem frivolous. However, this proverb has plenty of thought behind it.
For example, you could be heading out for a camping trip in the mountains. While we would all like the weather to be sunny, clear, and temperate, there is a chance that a storm could come. Getting caught in bad weather while trekking up a mountain could lead to a life-threatening scenario.
So, when you’re packing your gear for the trip, it’s a good idea to plan for the worst-case scenario, even if you don’t think the weather forecast doesn’t indicate a storm on the horizon.
The proverb describes many situations in life surrounding your career, family, or social circle.
Prepare for the Worst Hope for the Best – Example Usage
There are plenty of use cases for “prepare for the worst hope for the best.” Some of the more common ways to use the idiom include the following.
- I’m going into a meeting with a client at 3 PM; I’m going to prepare for the worst but hope for the best.”
- We’re hosting a party this weekend for my brother’s son; we’re going to prepare for the worst but hope for the best.
- I’m going into court to hear the ruling; we’re going to prepare for the worst but hope for the best.”
Prepare for the Worst Hope for the Best – Origin
The origin of the proverb “prepare for the worst but hope for the best” comes from the book “The Wondrous Tale of Alroy.” Benjamin Disraeli, author and Prime Minister of the UK, penned the novel in 1833, using the idiom in chapter three of the book.
Phrases Similar to Prepare for the Worst Hope for the Best
A few other phrases are similar to “prepare for the worst, hope for the best.”
- Expect the best, prepare for the worst, capitalize on what comes.
- Every cloud has a silver lining.
- Stay positive but remain on guard.
- If we are wise, let us prepare for the worst.
- Expect the unexpected.
Phrases Opposite to Prepare for the Worst Hope for the Best
Here are a few idiomatic phrases and sayings opposite of “prepare for the worst hope for the best.”
- Throw caution to the wind.
- Don’t worry, be happy.
- Go with the flow.
- Go wherever life takes you.
What is the Correct Saying?
The correct use of the idiom, “prepare for the worst hope for the best,” refers to situations where you are trying to say there are perhaps unseen threats in the future. It also relates to actions and events, giving you an outlook of caution while remaining joyful at the moment.
“Prepare for the worst, hope for the best” can describe life situations where you are uncertain of the outcome. For instance, you’re called into your boss’s office to discuss a problem. You don’t know what she wants to discuss or the prospective outcome of the meeting. However, if your gut feeling is uncertain of the request and the contents of the meeting, then it’s a perfect time to use the phrase.
For instance, you could say to your colleagues, “I’m going to the boss for a meeting. I don’t know what she wants, but I’m going to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”
Some people may use the idiom inappropriately at times. For instance, if you’re going into a scenario where you enter a new barbershop, using the term wouldn’t be very appropriate. After all, what’s the worst that could happen?
Acceptable Ways to Phrase “Prepare for the Worst Hope for the Best”
You can use the proverb “hope for the best prepare for the worst” at any time where you want to remain positive in the face of a possible threat.
One of our favorite uses of the phrase comes from Gerald Celente, who stated, “If you don’t prepare, you could lose everything. If you prepare for the worst and nothing happens, you’ve lost nothing.”