“What if” is a phrase we all have used at one time or another. But HOW you use it can be the difference between realizing all the success you've ever dreamed of and having your life end in a bitter disappointment. Today, I will show you how to use “What If” to your advantage in building the life you deserve.
The Very Ugly Side of “What If”
This morning, Rosemary and I went to our local shopping mall to catch an early movie. After the movie, she wanted to do some shopping, so I opted to head on over to Borders while I waited for Rosemary to finish. I love bookstores — there's something about all that knowledge in one place that I find inspiring.
Anyway, as I was browsing through the history section, I came across a book called, “What If”.
It was a book written by some foremost military historians about what would have happened if certain events in history had gone differently:
What if Abraham Lincoln was never assassinated?
What if Adolf Hitler had done a few things differently that would have allowed him to win World War II?
What if the lost order of Robert E. Lee had never been lost… and the South had won the Civil War?
These are all great “What If's” in history, but they serve little purpose other than to examine the ramifications of such events.
So what about you?
Are you guilty of playing the “What If” game in your own life?
Do you constantly ask yourself things like…
- What if I was born to a richer family and had no money worries?
- What if I hadn't spent so much time at work and lost my wife and family?
- What if I hadn't make that terrible business decision and cost myself a fortune?
“What if” in these situations are not worth your time. These events happened and there's not much you can do about it. Sure, you can and should examine and reflect on your prior decisions and try to learn from your mistakes. But to dwell on a series of “What ifs” in your life gets you stuck in a bottomless pit of self pity and despair.
And in the end, your life goes nowhere.
The Bad (but Better) Side of “What If”
If bemoaning the “What ifs” in your Past is the Very Ugly side of this phrase, then asking “What if” of your present circumstances is only slightly better, and only because of where it can lead.
What if my job payed more… I could afford that new car.
What if my spouse was more attentive … then we would be happier.
What if my boss liked me more… then I would move up in the company.
You'll probably agree that these are similar statements to the What Ifs of the Past, and it's because they put the Power into someone else's hands. My job is the problem, my spouse is the issue, my boss sucks, the government is screwing me… it all variations on the same theme.
You have no control over your own life.
And that's a shame… because with just a small shift in your thinking, things could be SO much different.
The Good (Actually GREAT) Side of “What If?”
Let's rephrase the 3 phrases from above and see what happens:
What if I had more skills.. then I could get a higher paying job and afford that brand new big-screen TV… and I will invest my time and money in new skills to accomplish this.
What if I became more serious about working on our relationship… then my marriage would be solid and we would both be happier…. so I pledge to make a plan with my wife to devote time to improve our relationship.
What if I decided to work harder and was more serious about my job… then my boss would like me better… so I am going to rededicate myself to my job, work hard and impress my boss…. and maybe even get a promotion!
You see the difference? In the previous “What ifs”, all the power belonged to someone else. In these latest examples, YOU are the focus on your “What ifs”. You are in control.
You have the power to change your life… if you want to.
This very subtle shift in the way you ask the question “What if” can make the difference between your success and failure, your happiness and your despair. If you are looking for improvements in your life, look no further than the person in the mirror.
It all begins and ends with YOU.
What's you biggest WHAT IF you're guilty of asking yourself? How can you change it to improve your life?
Leave a comment!
To your growth and success!
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