Putting in the Work

man wearing earphones laughing in front of monitor

It’s only been 24 hours, but it’s still a good time to ask: How is your “want list” coming? Hopefully, you’ve spent some time paying attention to the challenge of figuring out just what it is you want. It’s a good practice to spend a few minutes every day – not by accident, but on purpose – figuring out where to put the energy of your dreams.

Now, while you were sifting through your mind, letting loose those dreams that until now you haven’t dared to put into words, did you come upon any wisps of self-talk, saying “if only”? Have you ever heard of the “if only” syndrome? Perhaps in all that sifting, you have found a touch of it in yourself.

People with the “if only” syndrome often blame others for their disappointments and failures.
They blame their families – “Nobody could succeed with the parents I have.” They blame their friends – “If only my so-called friends would come through for me once in a while.” They blame their circumstances – “It’s obvious that the deck is stacked against me.” Their complaints frequently start with the words “if only,” such as, “If only I had more money. If only I had paid more attention in school. If only I was better looking, born somewhere else, even born in a different age.” You get the picture.

These folks stumble through life feeling anxious or depressed, dreaming of unlikely events that will transform them, magically, through little or no effort of their own. And, because they envy others, it’s hard for them to feel any genuine pleasure in anyone else’s successes.

The cure for the “if only” syndrome is to take responsibility for your own life once and for all. Give up blaming everyone and everything else and be honest with yourself. Give up finding fault and learn to set achievable goals. Give up thinking about what you’d do if you won the lottery, and figure out what work you can put in to make a difference in your future.

By the way, there is a little bit of “magic” involved when you take responsibility for your failures? You see, when you take responsibility for what doesn’t go right, you also take control of what does.