The “what-if” game should never be played by anyone, yet we all do it. What-if questions generally just make you feel sorry for yourself. I’m not talking about the questions like what if I had a million dollars? or What if I was stranded on a desert island and could only bring one item? These questions are often fun and thought provoking.
The questions that are not quite as fun, and more mind numbing than thought provoking, are the ones triggered by regret or guilt. What if I had worked harder on that project, would I have gotten the promotion? or What if I had been nicer to that one person in high school who is now a famous bajillionaire? My absolute favorite is when I’m sitting at a café with my grandma and she’s playing keno. Every time, without fail, she will say “oh I knew I should’ve played (enter whatever number she didn’t play, but came on the board here)!”
Well, you didn’t get the promotion and you aren’t rolling in the dough with your high school frenemy, and grandma we STILL haven’t won keno (yet). Why look back in regret and play the what-if game? It doesn’t do any good since we can’t change the past, at least not with the current technology. I think there is some “parallel universe” theory that states there are different worlds in which we live for each decision we make. I don’t buy it… but if it helps you sleep at night knowing that a parallel version of yourself is out there living the dream, then more power to you (keep on taking those happy pills).
There are things we all should have done. There are times when we could have done something better or worked harder. Instead of wasting time dwelling on what might have been, think about how you are going to make something happen in the future. Even if you think an opportunity has passed you by, there are always bigger and better opportunities out there. Don’t dilly-dally in the past; instead of what-if just think what will be. The possibilities are endless!
“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” -Alexander Graham Bell
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