This time of year, we all become time travelers. Faster than the speed of light, one’s mind can bounce to what was, and then jump to what could be. It’s an emotional mixed bag. Remembering, savoring, regretting, grieving, celebrating.
Looking back helps us learn from challenges we weren’t prepared for.
And looking forward helps us prepare for the challenges we’re excited to take on.
Of course, if we’ve learned anything from Time Cop, Looper, Star Trek, and Doctor Who, it’s that time travel is a tricky business.
A great responsibility rests on your shoulders, Time Cadet.
As you bravely bounce through your timeline, beware. Your travels give you an opportunity to discover a fulfilling future, and while also running the risk of getting stuck in your past.
One of the easiest ways to time travel is with the word “if” – specifically in two phrases:
- “What if…”
- and “If only…”
To safely trek through your personal dimensions of time and space, use your “if’s” wisely.
“What if…” is inherently imaginative.
When you ask “What if…?,” you’re considering possibilities. Exploring new, innovative, and maybe even crazy ideas. You’re imagining.
“What if…” is a phrase for thinking about the future. “What if…” helps you consider ideas beyond current realities and resources. You can get to those later. “What if…” helps you color outside the lines.
Enjoy your “What if…” explorations! Take a long walk with “What if” before you bounce back to the here and now.
And if you feel yourself being pulled back to the present too soon on your journey, just reply with a smile, “Yeah, but what if…?”
Any exploration comes with its own risks. And “if’s” can get dangerous when traveling to the past. Especially when you say, “If only…”
“If only’s” can spin you in circles and set you up for an Inception-esque ending.
“If only this happened instead of that, then things would be different (better).”
That’s a recipe for heartache.
We are only observers of our past. No longer participants.
Our brains are too primal for us to become mini-gods when considering past events. You can never know which circumstances would have lead to which outcomes. There are too many variables. Too many unknowns.
Doing a hindsight-ed “Choose Your Own Adventure” just isn’t in the cards.
If circumstances were different, you don’t know what the results might have been. You don’t know what you might have adapted to, sacrificed, resented, or lost. You can’t predict your personal butterfly effect.
As Michael Jordan once said, you’ll never see the flipside of if.
SAFE TIME TRAVELS
Time travel is a scary business. The future holds hope and worry. The past holds grievances and lessons.
During this time of time travel, use your if’s wisely. When you do, your reflections of your past can clarify your visions for the future.
Stay safe in your timeline. Things can get a bit wibbly-wobbly in the timey-whimey.
Good journey, my friend.
Influence Speaker & Coach
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