How To Stop Thinking About The What Ifs In Life

Posted on Posted in A-Z

If Ifs and buts were candy and nuts we all would have a merry christmas! 

We thought, why not start with a cliche today and pretend to be funny?! Not our style eh?!

Well, today’s topic is about the what ifs in life which most of us have thought about or constantly tend to do so. The question surfaces in two occasions

  1. When we are trying something new or uncertain
  2. When we are lamenting about the things that did not work in our favour.

We shall focus on the first one because I personally feel it is a more productive question which leads to an action at the end.

What ifs when trying something new or uncertain:

It is the most natural response to be cautious in a new endeavour. Especially when we are trying to do something different, the natural tendency is to identify the things that could go wrong and try to fix them before hand. We had talked about this in length when we discussed about the 7 Important Steps to Make Better Decisions and how we could be more effective in that. This post draws directly from that.

None of us likes to get hurt in life and hence we all do those things which makes us feel comfortable and accomplished. We very rarely would want to be surprised with the outcomes we did not expect and end up feeling bad about it. So we all tend to think about the what ifs – the what ifs when things go wrong which help us identify the traps and things that can go wrong. There is literally nothing wrong with thinking about these what ifs, but we have to be very clear of its purpose. We have to make sure that the purpose is not to prevent us from taking a decision or action, but to help us be better prepared.

Unfortunately, the fear of failure becomes so strong at times that it prevents us from taking any action at all. And these are the times when we ask the bigger question and ask – What is more important to you? – Your dream or the fear of failing?

I guess the answer to this question will pretty much give the answer about what we are going to do next.

The what ifs while lamenting

This is the set of what ifs which we reckon are really sad. When we sit down in retrospect, we all are very smart because we have the knowledge of an event and its outcome. We sit back and say, what if I knew this before hand – I would have done that and the problem would never occur. It never fails to impress me that it all feels so easy in retrospect that it almost makes us feel like fools.

But we have an answer for this retrospect as well. Each time you feel silly or stupid that you had not done something and think – what if, well think this instead – Whatever has happened has already happened. Stop making a fool out of yourself in your own eyes because there is very little you will gain out of it.

We all have made mistakes in the past and we will continue to do so. There is very little sense in trying to feel bad about it and beat ourselves up. There is no way we can go back to the past and change things, but we can certainly learn and be better in our future endeavours. The more we do that consciously, the faster we are at tackling the real problems facing us. Everything else can wait a bit..

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