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Friday, August 3, 2012

What ifs

Why is it that, when we are considering the possible outcomes of our actions...what our future may hold...our "what ifs" are almost always negative?

What if it doesn't work out?

What if I get hurt?

What if I'm wrong?

What if I fail?

And these "what ifs" fill us with such fear and doubt, that they can consume us and stop us dead in our tracks...terrified to continue forward...leaving us stagnating where we are.  

There are two separate problems with this sort of thinking.  

First of all, why is the negative a more likely possibility than the positive?   What in our lives has led us to the determination that it is far more possible that the worst will happen, instead of the best (or even just the "good")?  

What if it did work out?  

What if I don't get hurt?  What if, instead, I find some happiness?  

What if I'm right and this leads to something wonderful?

What if...just maybe...I succeed?

What has conditioned us to think so poorly of ourselves...of our common sense and decision-making skills...of our own innate abilities?  More importantly, how can we better learn to trust in ourselves and take those leaps with the expectation of:  

"What if it all is--what if I am--a huge, overarching, smashing success?!"?

The second problem with the negative "what if" thinking is the flip side of the coin...

What if it doesn't work out?

What if I get hurt?

What if I'm wrong?

What if I fail?

Why do we not meet these questions with one simple, infallible, response:

So what.

So what if it doesn't work out, and we get hurt, and we're wrong, and we fail.

So what. 

Everyone does...and thank god for that.  For without that difficulty...those challenges...those failures...how do we ever learn and grow?   We all have our dukkah, we all have our pain and our suffering, and through learning to find our balance again, we grow and become stronger and truer to who we really are.  

One of the greatest authors* of all time put it quite succinctly:

Wherever you fly, you'll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don't.
Because, sometimes, you won't.

Out there things can happen, and frequently do,
To people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don't worry, don't stew.
Just go right along, you'll start happening too!

So, now, I ask you...what if?

Dr. Seuss: Oh the Places You'll Go