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The Curse of Endless “What If” and How to overcome it (Part 2 of 2)

Read part 1 here.

When you begin thinking of one What-If after another, it may become a vicious cycle. Even for a small issue, you may think of 5 or 10 What-Ifs and as with all What-Ifs, usually, it causes worry and not-so-good feelings.

In fact, you would feel terrible all the time. Every decision small or big that you have to make will make you worry.

So how do we stop this curse of endless What-Ifs?

Understand that the What-Ifs are just thoughts by your brain. Of course, they may happen, but they are just a “may”. Ask yourself, how much percentage of that “may” could happen. Analyze the What-Ifs. Are they logical? Are they absurd? Of course, absurd things may still happen, but how much likely? 1 in a million? Well, you must tell yourself that in life, bad absurd things may happen to everyone. But the chances are usually very slim (1 in a million?). So, don’t worry too much about it.

Take note of the What-Ifs, and see how many of them actually happen. If you really need a proof, you can start taking note of the What-Ifs and at the end of the period, see how many times they actually happen. You will see that most of the time they don’t happen at all.

Distance yourself from the What-Ifs. Since the What-Ifs are just a thought in your brain, you can tell yourself that you are not your thoughts. The thoughts cannot control you. A trick for this is to distance yourself from the What-Ifs, the thought. When you are having a What-Ifs moment, tell yourself “A part of me thinks that……” See the key here? You are telling yourself that the What-If is a part of you, but not the whole you. So, it is like someone telling you bad things, you can always make a distance from that someone and disregard the negative advice.

Turn the “What-Ifs” into “Even-Ifs”. You change the negativity into hope and positivity. So, instead of “What if I get laid off? I would be devastated, I cannot provide for my family anymore”, turn it into ” Even if I get laid off, I know my skills and experience are needed out there. I would be able to look for another job, even a better one”.

Lastly, acceptance. This is the ultimate turn point of overcoming the curse of What-Ifs. So, your worry becomes a reality. It really rains during the picnic, you get laid off, and so on. There is no use to get too upset about it. You have made all the preparation and yet the bad things still happen. You must understand that how life goes. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. A wise man said, enjoy the journey.

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