What To Do With The “What Ifs”

In my previous post “The Unthinkable,” I told about the day of our car accident which resulted in Mark’s Traumatic Brain Injury. When the unthinkable happens it’s easy to get caught up in the “what ifs.” What if Mark hadn’t gotten the job in Ogden? What if we had stayed in bed as I was tempted to and postponed our home search for a day with better weather? What if we’d stayed with the realtor or skipped lunch? What if Mark was driving instead of me? There are plenty of “what ifs” to think about, but that doesn’t change the reality of what happened, and I know it’s a waste of time and energy. I suppose it’s human nature to wonder if I’d done things differently—would life be better? Wallowing in regret only leads to discouragement and depression. My grandma used to call it “having a pity party.” When I recognize my brain is taking me to a pity party I refuse to go.

If it crept up on me before I realized it, I leave the pity party by concentrating on the positives: I am so grateful we survived the car accident and were able to raise our two children. I’m so thankful they weren’t in the car with us because they might not have survived.  I’m grateful for the people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had since the car accident.

When I look for the positive, my eyes are opened to the good things I wasn’t paying attention to before. As I focus on the positive, I am consumed with appreciation for each family member and friend who has and still gives us so much love and support. When I think about the blessings, the experiences and the people we’ve met, I am in awe and my sadness turns to joy.

A Blessing

Our journey took a dramatic, unthinkable turn that day, a turn I did not expect nor could have prepared for. However, there is joy in this journey and at the top of the mountain there is a beautiful view.

So my tip for today: when you feel the “what ifs” coming on and your brain taking you to a pity party, refuse to go. If you’re already there, just leave by focusing on the positive and counting your blessings.

Don’t Quit

Don't give upEveryone has those days where they feel like giving up. It might be caused by being overwhelmed with a project, or after having a bad day. It might be after you get a bad report, or grade in school, or at work. Sometimes it comes during an intense work out, or hard diet to follow.

Life is like a roller coaster, with its twists and turns and you can’t predict what will happen next. Life can beat you down, but in order to succeed you need to pick yourself up and try again.

On days like these I have a favorite poem I like to read that’s framed and hanging on my wall. I keep it in my exercise room for inspiration in my workouts, but when I just need uplifting I know where to find it—in this poem.

Don’t Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high,

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.


Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learns,

And many a failure turns about,

When he might have won had he stuck it out;

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–

You may succeed with another blow.


Often the goal is nearer than,

It seems to a faint and faltering man,

Often the struggler has given up,

When he might have captured the victor’s cup,

And he learned too late when the night slipped down,

How close he was to the golden crown.


Success is failure turned inside out–

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

And you never can tell how close you are,

It may be near when it seems so far,

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–

It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

Author unknown

Five important points from this poem:

  • Rest if you must, but don’t quit. Rest can bring clarity, renewed energy and perspective.
  • Within every failure are lessons that must be learned to achieve success in future attempts at the same or other endeavors.
  • Failure doesn’t mean that your attempt was a loss, but that you may have made a few mistakes that made you come up short of success.
  • Success is the opposite of failure which can be turned inside out.
  • Failure and success are closely related. There is always hope of success because most often you need failure to learn how to achieve success.

This poem encourages actions and deeds that lead to success. So, next time you are up until midnight writing or studying, feeling overwhelmed, or enduring a tough time, imagine yourself facing the “victor’s cup” in the end. Give yourself something worth working towards and think of these words, ” I must stick to the fight when I’m hardest hit, It’s when things seem the worst that I mustn’t quit.”