The unlived life

Image: Mike Enerio

Learning from life’s What Ifs

Who of us doesn’t wonder at times about what might have been?

What if we’d gone to that university instead of the other? 
What if we’d quit our safe job to pursue the life-long dream? 
What if we hadn’t let someone we loved get away? 
What if we’d spent our money on this rather than that? 
What if we’d had two children instead of three? 
What if we hadn’t lost a parent when we were so young?
What if we’d not missed that train?
What if…?

The list is endless. And the reality is we all have unlived lives. The lives we could have had if we’d made different choices or if circumstances hadn’t played out the way they did.

It is natural for our minds to wander down these What If trails from time to time. Used wisely, thinking about life’s What Ifs can motivate us towards making better decisions in the future.

At the same time, there is no point spending our whole lives wondering about how things could have played out differently. We accept the choices we’ve made for better or for worse, we learn from them, but we then have to keep moving forward.

No matter what, there will always be unlived lives. And that’s the reality regardless of whether we make good or bad life choices. There is no perfect life path. There will always be different trails we could have gone down.

It’s important to learn to be at peace with where we are in life. We cannot change the past. We can, however, change the future. And that’s why thinking about the past and our choices and, yes, the What Ifs, does have a role to play.

The point, though, is not to go back but to move forward. And not just move forward but move forward with greater wisdom and clarity about the life we want to live and the choices we need to make along the way.

Is there a right and wrong way to go about motivating people?

Staying focussed without becoming a bore