Are You A “What If I Did?” Or “What If I Do?” Person?

Are You A “What If I Did?” Or “What If I Do?” Person?

By Amanda Fox

Did you ever sit back and say to yourself “That’s what I want to do!” or “That’s who I want to be!”? Most of us have. I’m actually pretty sure all of us have and likely more times than any of us can recall. Every now and then, we all dream about a new life.  Some envision the future when they do this and ask “What if I try XYZ to get to point A?”.  Others go a different route and reflect on the past  asking “What if I did ABC – would I be at point A now or on my way to it?”.

One of the things about being a human is we ask our self “what if?” a lot.  For the most part, we do this in the here and now or regarding the future. We get our creative juices flowing to figure out how we’ll finish the project we have to complete in the next 2 hours by saying “What if I try doing xyz. . .?”. We’ll plan decades in advance for our kids education or our own retirement by asking “What if I start doing. . .?”. That’s all good stuff! We need to do that in order to provide for ourselves and our loved ones as best we can. It’s when we look back and start saying “What if I did. . .?” that those two words tend to get us in trouble.

Unless your DeLorean allows you to time travel – don’t waste energy living in the past

A little “what if?” now and then isn’t a terrible thing. It can help us avoid repeating mistakes. Learning from history is a good thing. It’s when we begin playing “what if” for nothing more than rewriting the past that it’s a problem.  The thing about the past is we aren’t Marty McFly and we can’t go back to the future and change events. All we can do is go forward. When we continually dig into our past, aside from for therapeutic purposes under professional guidance, we usually do it all wrong and beat ourselves up over events that are done and gone.

There’s nothing wrong with reflecting on our past choices. There is a problem when doing so stops us from looking at the future and what we can do right now to become that person we want to be or work toward that thing we really want to do because we’re stuck in the past. When we allow ourselves to do that, we lose the present which means we also lose time and energy needed to make the future we want. In essence, we create another moment to look back on and ask our self “What if I started yesterday…” or last month or last year.

I’m not going to tell you to never wonder “what if?” about your past. I’m not even going to tell you not to take a brief trip down memory lane with some revisions where you imagine a brighter outcome than what really happened. Saying that would be futile – we all do it here and there. What I am going to tell you, however, is you have to make peace with the fact that the past is the past and all you have for sure is this moment.

You’re never going to change what happened 30 years ago or 30 seconds ago so don’t beat yourself up over it. It’s gone. What you can change is what’s coming up in 30 seconds and maybe even 30 years, should you still be here. That is where your energy needs to be devoted. That is where your fantasies need to live! Those are the dreams you can make true – if you choose to do what they require to manifest. You really can make a million dollars if that’s your dream. Someone does it for the first time every single day. You can start your own business! You can get healthier and you can still meet the person of your dreams if you haven’t already!

The world is full of possibilities, but you have to act on them to get anywhere (Image from

And while you’re rolling your eyes thinking to yourself “sure, it’s that easy to do”, guess what – it isn’t. It’s hard. It’s damn hard! But you know what – it’s not impossible and it’s worth it! I’m not going to say if you can dream it you can do it because I know that isn’t reality. What is reality, however, is that if you can dream it, you have the possibility to make it happen. Maybe you do and maybe you don’t, but if don’t try the possibility is almost nil. So the next time you say “what if”, do so with an eye on the future – not the past.


Let us know in the comments what you think. We’d love to get your take on the topic!

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