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If only…

What can you accomplish if only...I spent part of my lunch the other day listening to a young woman at the next table bellyache about how dissatisfied she was with, well, just about everything in her life. I’d feel worse about eavesdropping but she griped with such fervor and fierceness that not listening would have required both noise-canceling headphones and a booth in a different restaurant. Possibly one in New Hampshire.

As she groused and grumbled her way through her lunch, I was struck by how often her sentences started with “If only…”. Y’know, things like, “If only my boss gave me the time of day…” “If only I were older…” and “if only there were more hours in the day…” and so on. As if, somehow, an extra hour each day or an extra year in her life would make all the difference to her accomplishments.

Lots of different things can affect our ability to accomplish our goals. Some of these are trivial. Some are significant. Years ago I knew a blind man who I frequently witnessed facing challenges great and small getting through his day due to his inability to see. Yet he was a successful small business owner, a proud parent and a really great guy to boot. If only he could see? I think not.

It’s easy to make excuses. Fun, too, sometimes. There’s nothing like a good rationalization to get you through the day. But… imagine what you can accomplish, if only you set your mind to it. Imagine all you can be, if only you envision it. Imagine where you’ll end up, if only you take the first step.

If only this lamenting-at-lunch young lady accepted accountability for her own actions, maybe she wouldn’t have so much to bellyache about. It makes me wonder what she’d think today. If only I’d bothered to call it to her attention…

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Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

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