I just finished Michael Lewis’s latest book, The Undoing Project. It is not as easy a read as Moneyball or Liar’s Poker but fascinating. It tells the story of two Israeli psychologists who wrote a series of breathtakingly original studies about the decision making process.
The title, The Undoing Project, comes from the investigation into feelings people have to spin alternative realities to avoid pain or emotion.
Razorback fans are very familiar with “undoing” saying, “If only we hadn’t fumbled,” or “if only we hadn’t missed that free throw”, or “if only we hadn’t dropped the baton.”
I suspect if you have lived long enough you have said, “if only.” From political races to marriage decisions, I bet you heard or said “if only” more than once a day.
Interestingly experiences of frustration and regret are not always easy to undo, where envy is different. Envy does not require a lot of effort to imagine a path to the alternative state.
“If only’s” are part of all our lives, but it is important to neither dwell on them or say them too often. That’s easier said than done.
Meditation is a good way to rid your mind from the “if only’s,” because meditation places one in the present, where “if onlys” take you out of the moment.
There are certain words we try to teach our children not to say, “if only” is one phrase we could all use much less often.