Month: December 2008

The Unquenchable Desire For A "Do-Over"

Sometimes, when you’re young, you call for a “do-over”… an opportunity to go back and attempt the same thing over again.  It tends to happen the most in sports, such as basketball (especially when you’re playing H-O-R-S-E)… you take a shot, and something causes you to mess it up.  That may be outside interference, or just you stumbling, but the result is the same… you miss, and you want another chance.

The desire for a “do-over”, though, is not limited to sports, nor to the young.  The desire comes up now and then for most people as they go through life… they are not happy with where they are, so they long for the chance to “just do it over”.  They may even go so far as to claim that it isn’t fair.

Unlike the example of kids playing basketball, however, there is no such option in life.  With life, you must instead assess where you are now, and then decide where you want to go.  Once you decide where you want to go, then, and only then, can you figure out what your next step should be on your way there.

You don’t have to decide where you want to go with your whole life, what your purpose is, or where you will find true fulfillment.  You just have to figure out somewhere that is reachable that you want to be.  You can decide to go with your desire to paint (or even be a painter) and acquire some brushes, paint, and a canvas or you might decide you want to be Mr. Universe, and start off with a goal of shedding 10 pounds of fat.

The trick is to focus not on the past, and what you didn’t do or where you didn’t end up, but instead on the future (especially the near future) and where you want to go from here.  Focusing too much on the past often leads to depression (“Look at all these mistakes I made!”), and focusing too far into the future can leave you feeling overwhelmed (“I’ll never get there!”).

There are no “do-overs” in life… but you can get somewhere better, somewhere that you would like to be, if you’ll just reach out and take a step toward some place reachable that’s closer to where you would like to be.