Friday, October 16, 2009

Dealing with 'What if?' - 10-7-09 Editor's Column

We’ve all said it. Some of us probably said it today. Still more of us will say it at some point in the coming week. “What if?” Those two little words that can cause so much distress or cause us to lose focus.

What is it about “what if?” that has us so unknowingly infatuated? Perhaps it’s the fact that on some of the occasions when we ponder it, the outcome may have been more favorable.

You know what I’m talking about. Those moments when you’ve just completed a task that didn’t end the way you had hoped and, though you know there is no going back or doing it over, you ponder, “what if I had done this?”

Then you dwell on what could have been instead of focusing on what is. Instead of learning from the less than desirable outcome, you try to understand where you went wrong, diverting your focus from the next time and therefore hindering yourself.

Another area that we let “what if?” get the best of us is when we are trying to complete everyday tasks.

For example, you have a task set in front of you that should be simple enough, yet instead of working to complete said task, you try to work all the angles before you even get to them, asking “what if” this happens or “what if” this goes wrong?

It’s easy to get caught up in this - we all do it. However, there must come a time when we save the “what if’s” for the sake of progress and growth as individuals.

Perhaps the next time a situation doesn’t work out in your favor, instead of getting stuck on “what if?” you can focus on how you will perform differently the next time.

Similarly, instead of second guessing and trying to get ahead of yourself on whatever project you might be working on, you simply take a step back and experience things the way they were meant to be experienced: With a desire to complete your task and learn from it, not dissect your task and be consumed by it.

We will always ask ourselves “what if,” however if we can come to recognize those situations that don’t require it and might actually be better without it, we might be able to enjoy life a little bit more.

Just be sure to enjoy the view.

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