“IF…!” What a Horrible Way to Live

“IF…!”  What a Horrible Way to Live


If ever there were a more useless word, “if” would have to be it! I mean what does it really do for us? It creates barriers that aren’t really there. It creates limits that don’t exist. It makes us believe we are being sensible while in reality it only secures us in our inaction due to fear. So, why do we live our lives by “if?!” Why do we make business decisions based on “IF?!!?” as if it makes sense!


Here is an example. Yesterday morning, instead of going to the gym, I took my bike to my local bike shop to replace the flat tire I noticed the night before. Twenty minutes later I rode away with a squeaky bike, but I had air in my tire. This morning I made it to the gym for a pretty spectacular workout, if I do say so myself, but as I packed up my bike for the ride home, I realized I once again had a flat tire. So, since the shop is on my way home, I walked my bike to the shop, and I explained what had happened. I suggested to the associate that because I would be away for the weekend, I could leave my bike with them to look a little more closely at what could be causing my flat tires. The associate said to me that I could leave it with them this time, but calling ahead would be better in the future. When I then told him that I just moments before discovered the flat and wanted to bring it right back in to them, he said, “it’s okay this time, but…if everyone left their bikes here, we would run out of room.” Laughing, I replied, “if everyone…? I am the only one here wanting to leave my bike. No one DOES. No one else is here.”


What was my point? My point is he was trying to tell me that they seem to or maybe WANT to have a business practice based on what would happen if everyone did something only I did in the moment. In other words, he wanted to treat me the way he would treat everyone who might ever possibly attempt to do what I was doing at the same time I was doing it (in my attempt to simply get help from him). Does this make sense, especially if you consider that I needed help and only made a suggestion? Let’s look further into the notion of living life and/or running his business by “IF.”


  1. If I had not bought the bike from them, I might not have a bike for them to repair.
  2. If a bus had hit me, I would not have been alive to bring my bike to him and cause his dilemma.
  3. If his coworker had taken more time yesterday, perhaps I would not have needed help today.
  4. If they ran out of room, they could possibly say, “no” to the next person…?
  5. If he had said no to me, I could have possibly taken my business elsewhere, for good.
  6. If the store had burned down yesterday, he would not have to throw the word “if” at me, today.
  7. If I were to die tonight, eating lunch would be a waste of time and money.
  8. If I had no legs, I wouldn’t need pants or a bike.
  9. If I never traveled to lands where people do not speak English, I might not have seen the world, and I certainly would not be here to offer him my business.


The word “if” is very much like a con-man who distracts you from your own objective by substituting a different one that makes you react to your fears instead of to what is in front of you. Don’t pay attention, don’t think about what could be happening that you cannot see, and don’t walk away from the con because you were heading in your own direction with purpose: you will end up being fooled! Can the same not be said for the word “if??” The word “if” causes you to focus on the one possibility that follows the word and completely ignores the universe of possibilities not considered! “If” is the red face card that was never on the table but in the con’s hand the entire time, or it is the red ball that never found its way under the cups you were watching as you tried to make sense of a something you didn’t understand. “IF” is the greatest con. Don’t be taken in?


The word “if” does not make you dream; you can dream simply because you want more. The word “if” does not make you careful; you can take care and weigh possibilities as options, you can pay attention. You can figure out a way to feel like the word is helping you, but you do not need the word ‘if.” In fact, it only gets in the way.


Ask yourself, “Why learn anything if you might use no more than eighty percent of everything you learn in your life?” “Why start anything if it will only eventually come to an end?” Now imagine what a nothing you would be if you didn’t learn anything and if you never started anything. Do you really want to live your life with “if” as your mantra? You won’t be living. You will barely exist.




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