Two words that the majority of us end our lives asking? What if I’d worked less? What if I’d asked them out? What if I’d written that book? What if I gave them another chance? All questions that we’ll never know the answer to.
I heard recently, that the way to get over an earworm – that song that keeps replaying over and over in your head – is to hunt down the song and listen to it in its entirety. The reason that your mind won’t let go of it is that it wants to finish it. To complete the loop and move on.
For most of us, we’ll never get an answer to that question. We’ll never know if it would have worked out. We’ll never know if that book idea would have taken off. Those are the roads that weren’t taken. Places never visited. Memories never created. The best we can do is answer as many of those questions on the road we’re on.
It’s been said that the man who tries to chase two rabbits at once never catches either. And although we’d like to chase all those events and moments down we can never do it. It’s impossible. Like answering a question and finding another one on the other side, the ‘what-if’ question leaves us with another possibility we could take. But what if that’s the wrong choice? What if we should back up three decisions we made ago and go from there? What if? What if? What if?
If there is anything that can guide us to making better choices it’s using happiness as a rule. If I do this thing does it make me feel good about myself? Does the person I’m with make my life better for being there? Will I feel better if I scratch this creative itch? The answer to those narrows down the options.
Steve Jobs once said that it’s only later in life, that you can see all the dots that lead you to where you are. In front of us are unlimited possibilities, although most of us don’t see or believe that because of the mental software in our heads. It shuts us down to a narrow path, one where we find most people walking along. And because we walk with the crowd, we assume it’s the right path, the safe path, the happy path, not realizing that at the end of that path you’ll ask yourself this question, what if?
We’ll never be able to answer all those what-if questions, but you could make a start if you took a chance. You could give that earworm closure by answering that question by taking action. You could use the thread of happiness to guide you through the maze of choice ahead of you. There will come a time when we all ask ourselves that question, and the best we can do is to say at least I answered some of them.
Have a good one!