Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, “It might have been” – Kurt Vonnegut
I’ve always been an advocate of learning from my mistakes and brainstorming about what I could have done better. This makes a lot of sense in many situations, as oppose to others where it doesn’t. Rethinking can easily become a sinkhole. It’s easy to get lost in it and lose the clear picture. Sadly, we lose so much time thinking about the past, that we lose perspective about the present.
I could tell some personal example related to that. I often think what could have been different. What would have happened I had followed my father’s advice to leave for a full summer abroad to learn English when I was 18-year-olds? What about if I had been more serious during my College years? What if I had started seriously reading books at 16? I can go on and on about the countless missed opportunities.
These are all possibilities that could have happened, but they didn’t. The result is done and locked in time. There isn’t anything I can do about it today. The only possible way to change things would be to travel back in time. You could dig your past for all these “what if” moment, but it won’t change anything. It’s a dead end.
Our thoughts should simply be where they should. Right here, right now.
“They criticize me for harping on the obvious; if all the folks in the United States would do the few simple things they know they ought to do, most of our big problems would take care of themselves.” – Calvin Coolidge
Have you ever search for your keys only to find out they were in your hand? The answer can be straight in our face and we can be blind to see it. What we search can be so obvious, it’s natural to look elsewhere.
A while ago, I was trying to find ways to improve my strenght at the deadlift and overhead press. My first instinct was trying to find shortcuts. Maybe a new supplement could be my savior? Maybe I could add a new assistant exercise to my training? What if I wasn’t stretching properly? You can see where this was going.
After thinking about it, I concluded that if I wanted to get stronger, I needed to do more strength. As simple as that. I’ve added a few sets of singles (doing the maximum for 1 rep) to each session and after a week I was already seeing a big difference. We often try to find shortcuts, hacks, tips, tricks or whatever. We want to find the easy way to do things, because we want to avoid the hard way.
You want more money? Instead of cancelling your Netflix account, you could just find an another job or ask for a raise. You need to lose weight, drinking Coca-Cola Zero won’t make a big difference. What you need is to eat less carbs period.
We don’t need the new cool apps, the next productivity hacks or that new trendy idea. What we need is to stop bullshiting ourselves for one moment and do what fucking matters.