“If you could change ONE thing about your life as it is today that you believe would make it better tomorrow, what would it be?”
With a first glance at the question most people will look back on a memory, a time, a place, an action or a reaction about something they should have or maybe should not have done; A past recollection of something that, if it had or had not happened, their life would be different and possibly better today. But read it again because that is not exactly the question I asked. Everyone has at least one “if I had only…then I would have“ or “If I could then I would “statements about their life but those no longer need to have power to dictate your future. What I want you to think about is “if I will only…then I could”. It’s all about moving forward.
“If I will only________…” That’s an interesting statement to think about because for most people the negatives and hurdles of pursuing something greater seems to over shadow the possibilities; so much so that this statement never seems to formulate in this positive form. The blank here is actually the first step in overcoming whatever you believe is holding you back, and is probably something you have said many times before, only it was disguised as an “If I could only” instead of an “If I will only”.
I think we all will agree that our past is not to be forgotten; after all as we grow older and live through these learning times in our life, we also grow wiser with each passing experience. (Or we should anyway). We learn from these experiences what have been good decisions for our lives and which ones have not been so good. Sometimes we even learn these lessons by watching people around us go through these experiences and if we are paying attention, we learn from them.
We have no reason to regret any decision we made in our past because it was a decision we made based on our experience up to that point in our lives.
And hopefully it also means that we have learned to do things better or differently or perhaps even not to change a thing at all as we move forward. We truly are a sum of our past experiences and reflecting back on and drawing from these past experiences is what allows us to the imagine with confidence the one thing that If you will only do that…then then you will feel like your dream is actually possible . “If I will only______, then…”
“Then______”, what? See this next part is actually the easy part. It is always the result of getting past whatever you see is holding you back. (The first part) And you have envisioned this a thousand times but the thought was always barricaded behind an “if I could only” statement. And whenever we say “If I could only” it’s just like saying “I can’t because” and that’s where the dream is usually squashed. If we are going to reach for something greater in our lives we must look at our dream as something possible. We must say to ourselves, “if I will only______, then (my dream for a better tomorrow will be possible!)
While it is true that our lives today are a result of everything we have been through in our past, it is also true that we must remember that tomorrow is not dictated by what our lives were like yesterday.
Tomorrow is dictated by our actions today in anticipation of what we want our tomorrow to be like!
What are you anticipating tomorrow will be like? Is it going to be the same as today? Or are you anticipating something better? If you will only _______, today then tomorrow you can _______! Whatever you fill those blanks in with, the statement will absolutely move your life in a direction you want it go.
Let me give you a few examples here. Let’s say you always wanted to open your own bakery. You have made cakes and pastries for friends and neighbors and they all love your sweets but you have no idea how you would ever afford to open your own shop. The statement that is most likely running through your head and even worse, being spoken from your very own lips is “If I could afford it, then I would think about opening my own shop.” In this example, you have acknowledged the hurdle; you don’t believe you can and you don’t know how you will ever be able to afford it. Unfortunately, you also subconsciously acknowledge that the hurdle is too big to overcome, when all you really need now is a way around it. How do you realize its affordability? I would think the best answer would be to get to know a successful bakery owner and learn from them. Sounds reasonable, right? So here’s the positive form of that statement that could change your future: If I will only make a call to a successful baker and ask them how they got started, then I will have some great advice about how I can also have my own bakery!
Here’s another example: You have been a loyal and hard working employee of your job for many years and you were hoping that when a promoted position came available, you would advance to that job. Unfortunately the job was filled by someone that had been there far less years than you. “If I could have only gotten that promotion then money wouldn’t be so tight for my family and we could enjoy that vacation we have wanted to go on for so long.” That even sounds like a defeated statement doesn’t it? What if you said something like this: “If I will only find out what qualifications the HR department is looking for and do those things then I could get that promotion, money wouldn’t be so tight for my family and we could enjoy that vacation we have wanted to go on for so long”
The answers are always in the problems. State the problem and it will usually point to the direction you should look for the answer. Then trust in your life experienced wisdom to help you see the way. It is the lessons and experiences of our past that affect the choices we make today and ultimately our future. By thinking “if I will only” instead of “If I could only” we can directly affect the success we feel in every part of our lives moving forward. That’s why the answer to this one question can have so much impact on your future. So what is the one thing that you can change about your life as it is today that you believe would make it better tomorrow?” That would be the same answer you have to the “If I will only, then” statement.
It’s important to know that the answer to this question today will be totally unique to this period of your life. You will base this answer off the dream and vision you have today and the experiences you have learned from up until this point in time. Go one year in the future, one year in the past or possibly as recently as yesterday or even to tomorrow and your answer may be totally different but your answer TODAY can change the direction of the rest of your life.
For that reason it is important to ask yourself this question often. Without asking yourself this question, without any vision or anticipation of better tomorrow… today will just be a continuation of yesterday and tomorrow a continuation of today, and so on and so on. Does your life feel like that? What could you change that would take you off this hamster wheel of life and on to a path of endless opportunity for any future you can envision?
If you could change ONE thing about your life as it is today that you believe would make it better tomorrow, what would it be?”
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