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Covid-19 hack: Imagining the worst helps Vijay Shekhar Sharma cope with uncertainty

Paytm employees began working from home at the start of March due to corona concerns.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Apr 01, 2020, 04.39 PM IST
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​Vijay Shekhar Sharma​ says thinking about the worst-case scenario when things are not that bad helps him.​
Vijay Shekhar Sharma says thinking about the worst-case scenario when things are not that bad helps him.
Given the unprecedented nature of the coronavirus pandemic and the speed of the outbreak, many entrepreneurs are struggling to plan ahead without knowing when the lockdown might lift or the economy stabilise.

“I don’t know how long this will continue,” Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma said in a recent ET interview. In a bid to stop the spread of the virus, Sharma's employees began working from home at the start of March but uncertainty looms.

“We have been working more or less three weeks from home (and) I don’t know whether it will be another three weeks or another month, or two months, or more," he said. "That is the biggest worry. You plan based on what you know. The biggest worry is the uncertainty of when this will open up.”

But Sharma had a secret hack for coping with uncertainty - imagining the worst.

“I always try to remember that this will be a long haul and not panic in the short term. My theory is that things will go worse far faster and far longer than what we envisage and by doing that you sort of get yourself accustomed to what is going to come and then you swing to a more productive outcome (when it doesn’t happen) and you feel happy. Thinking about the worst-case scenario when things are not that bad — that’s my coping mantra.”

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