Are “What Ifs” Getting in the Way of Your Happiness & Dreams?

 In Better Life, Negative emotions

Last week I was feeling a little stressed. I had to get to the Milwaukee airport so I could fly to Austin for a workshop I was giving. They were predicting blizzard conditions the day before with anywhere from 4 to 6 inches of snow and some additional snow the next day – the day I was supposed to make the two-hour drive to the airport.

What if the roads were bad? What if I didn’t make it in time to catch my flight? What if my flight was delayed in Milwaukee and I missed my connecting flight? I knew these things were out of my control and my questions were just going to cause me unnecessary worry.

As I noticed the path my thoughts were taking, it reminded me of a wonderful guy I know, now retired. He had dreams of one day being a truck-driver like my dad. He loved the idea of traveling and seeing the country. He would ask my dad for advice on how to get started and also about his many worries. What if his truck broke down? What if he got lost? What if he was late delivering a load? His “what ifs” immobilized him and he never pursued his dream.

How often do we let “what ifs” dominate our mind and stress us out, maybe even get in the way of taking a chance or of making our dreams come true? Our survival instinct focuses us on all the things that might go wrong. If we let it, this worry can take control, but if we notice it, we have the power to override this negativity.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • What is the worst thing that could happen?
  • What can you do to reduce the risk?
  • What would you do if the worst did happen?
  • What are the chances of it happening?
  • What are the benefits of taking the risk?

Mark Twain captured this challenge so well when he said, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”

Wishing you much peace & happiness!



Tina Hallis, Ph.D., is a positivity speaker, trainer, & author. She is also the founder of The Positive Edge, a company dedicated to helping create more positive attitudes, positive work cultures, and positive results.

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