The “what-if” game


We are a society of gamers. Our favorite diversion is escaping from reality. Whether it’s video games, board games, sports, or mind games with real people, we love nothing more than getting something more than we had, usually at someone else’s expense.

One of the easiest games to play is the “what if” game. Everyone plays; even if they don’t admit it. It requires no special equipment, planning, or skills. It can be played anywhere, at any time. “What if” can be anything you want, and different for everyone. There are no rules. There’s no way to do it “wrong.” All you have to do is sit back, and start saying, “What if…”

The problem is that, although it seems innocent enough—they are only thoughts, after all—it’s a very dangerous game. Since there are no rules, and no score, it’s very difficult to know if you’re winning or losing, or what the penalties may be. You may even think you’re winning, when in fact you’re losing instead. And no one ever really wins.

So many people spend their time wondering “what if” this, or “what if” that. Soon, they begin to wonder, “What if what I have is not the best I could get? What if there’s something better? What if I had made this or that choice, instead of the one I made? How would my life be different? What did I miss out on? What could I have had?”

Such apparently innocent statements can lead you quickly and directly to what Phil Collins once called the “land of confusion.” It’s a cloudy, dreary place where the sun rarely shines and dissatisfaction breeds freely. Despite the countless players, you seem to be always alone. No matter what you may imagine, nothing is better there. You spend your days wandering endlessly in the gloom, fighting enemies you can’t touch, and playing a game you can’t win.

Be mindful what games you choose to play!

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