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I read an online article recently about psychology, which referred to a type of person who always expects bad things to happen. But rather than worrying or being unduly anxious about it, they plan ahead, in order to mitigate a future bad situation they expect might happen to them. This wasn't perceived as a negative attitude and the article gave this behaviour a description. Maybe it's well known in psychology circles or maybe it was just used in this article.

Unfortunately I cannot find the article, so I am enlisting your assistance. What we are looking for is a two word expression to describe such behaviour. It should not describe someone who is pessimistic, but rather someone who takes into account that bad things may happen and structures his life accordingly.

A similar example would be 'active defence,' which describes the behaviour of getting your retaliation in first.

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    People at the extreme end of this spectrum, way past reasonable and judicious care, are known as [Doomsday] Preppers (who, in their own parlance, call themselves Survivalists). They carry around "bug out bags" so the moment the nukes fall or aliens invade, they can "bug out" to their bunker in Montana which is stocked with 5 years of baked beans and diesel fuel. – Dan Bron Jun 10 '16 at 11:46
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    You possibly are thinking of, simply, "pessimist". You could also simply be thinking of "paranoid". (Andy Grove (RIP), who gave us much of the modern world as the genius behind Intel, famously said "Only the paranoid survive!") – Fattie Jun 10 '16 at 12:00
  • Can you link the article or copy and past its few important sentences? – user140086 Jun 10 '16 at 12:24
  • Cautious works fine. If you want to hammer home the prep., toss in a hyphenated term like planner. – The Nate Jun 10 '16 at 18:16
  • Risk conscious? – Phil Sweet Jun 10 '16 at 20:06
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An expression / not one word:

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst.

"Essentially, the importance of expecting the best lies in having the best possible outcome to aim for – to achieve. It provides our mind a goal to strive for. It is important to understand that preparing for the worst has nothing to do with being optimistic or pessimistic. It is simply a sound thing to do in executing our analysis of our current situation. We simply need to look at all possible outcomes from the best to the worst in order for us to be able to make a sound analysis and decision of what would be the best decision to take next."

http://psychoadvantage.blogspot.gr/2012/02/expect-best-prepare-for-worst.html

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Fatalist.

Fatilism (from the Freedictionary.com):

  1. The doctrine that all events are predetermined by fate and are therefore unalterable.
  2. Acceptance of the belief that all events are predetermined and inevitable.
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A "pessimist" would be the apt word as that refers to a person whose would always see the negative in everything.

  • But do pessimists make preparations? And does this word accord with OP's report that this is not perceived as a 'negative attitude'? – Dan Bron Jun 10 '16 at 12:12
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    Yes they tend to make preparations in case bad things may happen. – Marilynn Jun 10 '16 at 12:19
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    I personally don't have that perception (that pessimists make preparations); in my experience, calling someone a pessimist connotes being a downer, sometimes to the extent that they think any given situation is hopeless, so there's not point in making preparations at all. But if you could edit your answer to demonstrate (by citing some authority on the matter) that pessimists are generally viewed as making preparations, I could upvote you. – Dan Bron Jun 10 '16 at 12:24

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