Scott’s Thoughts: If Only

“For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin — real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time to still be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.”

-Father Alfred D. Souza, Inspirational writer/philosopher from Brisbane, Australia.

Woman expressing doubts.“If only the deal would close. If only we had a safety net. If only I had a few more listings in the pipeline. If only we had refinanced.”

You can put a lot of your life on hold for if only. You can use if only to hang onto regrets, to pin your present and future on a single folly in your past. You can make your living completely conditional with if only, and in the process short yourself of living a life at all.

If only is so troublesome because it suggests that we can only progress or connect with happiness in an idealized state. With if only at our side, we can stew infinitely in our dissatisfaction.

There is an antidote to the poisonous if only, though. If you’ve been bitten by if only, immediately look inside yourself with the question what if?

What if is a way forward. It acknowledges the condition set forth by if only and says, “Yes, things could be different, but here we are now. And being here, what if…?”

What if is your idea generator. What if makes you an agent in the universe, a person capable of changing the course, though you may not always know the outcome. Not every idea that follows what if will be good. In fact, that’s not the point. The point is to exercise what if like it’s a muscle, to keep your ability to brainstorm alternatives, options, and plans strong and flexible.

When you hear if only, use it as your call to what if.

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