Do you sometimes dwell on mistakes or failures? Or do you kick yourself endlessly for decisions you made – or perhaps didn’t make?
In A Touch of Wonder, Arthur Gordon tells of the method a psychiatrist friend used to evaluate how well his patients were doing when dealing with regrets.
“As long as a patient keeps saying if only to me, he’s in trouble,” the psychiatrist told Gordon. “But when he looks me in the eye and says next time, I know he’s on the way to overcoming his problem…It means he’s going to push aside the roadblock of regret, move forward, take action, resume living.”
Try replacing “if only” with “next time” in your worklife.
If you had a presentation not go as well as you wanted, it’s easy to afterwards get stuck in “if only” – “if only I had focused on this…” or “if only I hadn’t said that…”
When you catch yourself mired in that mode, try mentally switching to “next time” – “next time I’ll focus more on…” or “next time I’ll better prepare what I need to say…”
Or maybe you had an idea run off the rails, and you’re eaten up with “if only I had tried this…” or “if only I hadn’t done that…”
Try switching to “I’ll know next time to head in this direction…” or “next time I’ll try this…”
“If only” just keeps you planted in the painful past. Swap that phrase for “next time” and turn your energy around.