Have you ever thought about “if only” or “what if” as you reflect on your past, no matter what area of your life that question might relate to?
Let me give you a couple of examples from my life and then explain the problems with “if only” and “what if.”
When I was younger, I was a very good basketball player. In high school we advanced to the Indiana state championships my Junior year. We lost in the afternoon game.
Over the years I’ve asked myself often “if only” I had tried harder we might have won. You see, I was a role player on the team. I’m 6’9″ and my role was to rebound, block shots and try to get baskets off of missed shots. I scored and rebounded above my average in that game, but if only I had done more.
There were two players on the team who were top players in Indiana and the leading scorers on the team. They both had lower than average performances that game. I questioned myself for years as to “what if” I had stepped up and done more? Could we have won? We’ll never know.
I also had college scholarship offers from 23 schools to go play basketball. Some were smaller schools, but many were large, top colleges and universities throughout the US. I actually could have been on the same team with Larry Bird at Indiana State.
For some reason I decided to stay near my home town and attend a small private college, rather than go to a national powerhouse university. The result? I didn’t like the small college or the coach, so I only attended one year. I was burned out on basketball after the experience I had and never played college basketball again.
And, I have thought to myself over the years “if only” I had gone to a big university and played big time basketball. What would have happened? Would I have made the pros? We’ll never know.
My dream careers when I was young were being a performer (magic, ventriloquism, guitarist/singer) and a cartoonist. I spent hours drawing cartoons and practicing magic, ventriloquism and playing my guitar and singing.
While I did have some modest success in all of these areas, I never made it “big” in any of them.
I ended up being mostly frustrated working in corporate America at a job my whole career. “What if” I’d only tried harder to make it in the careers I really wanted to be in? Would I have had a syndicated comic in newspapers across the county? Been selling out venues performing magic and ventriloquism? Or maybe making hit records and touring the world? We’ll never know.
But here’s the deal. And this should resonate with you, as I’m sure you’ve had similar situations in your life or career.
If I had achieved any of the above, my life would be completely different today. And I don’t necessarily mean that in a good way. If I had reached those dreams, I probably would have never met my wife Cheryl, or had been blessed beyond measure with our two fantastic kids. I wouldn’t have the friends I have now. I wouldn’t have built a successful internet marketing business selling products and training courses I believe in to help ventriloquists as well as other marketing niches.
Nor would I be on the ground floor opportunity with launching Leadstra (www.leadstra.com) which I feel confident is going to become a great company, as we help small businesses grow, or assist those individuals looking for a new career but are uncertain as to what to do.
I could go on and on with things I would not be experiencing today had something from the past been different.
That’s the lesson today. You can’t focus on the “what if” and “if only” things from your past. You can’t change the past.
You instead need to focus on the phrase “What now?” and work towards goals that reflect on where you are at RIGHT NOW and move towards the dreams you have NOW. In the present.
Letting go of “If only” and “what if” and focusing on “what now” will save your sanity 8-)…and move you forward to your future and living your dreams you have now – starting today. Can you do that? Only you know…
Thanks for reading. Please share this post if you found the information useful and leave a comment if you feel so inclined.