While reading the Sunday papers at the weekend, I came across a phrase in the middle of an article that read – because it’s an afterthought. The phrase stayed with me long after I put the paper down for a number of reasons.
I do not think I am the only person, who, when reviewing my day find myself saying “I wish I had said….”, “if only I had thought to……”, “I should have….”
You see sometimes it is so much easier to come up with the perfect response or action after the fact. Then having had the thought I can end up giving myself a hard time and effectively beating myself up inside my head. As I sit writing this – the total and utter waste of time of such a response is self-evident. But what to do?
In reality I have a number of choices that I can make:
- I can go back to the other person involved and take up the matter again in other words I can choose to act on my afterthought
- I can store my preferred action/response in my head so that if a similar situation arises again I can use my knowledge. In other words I can learn from my afterthought
- I can actively just let it go. In other words I can choose where I expend my energy
What I have learned from experience is that my pattern of afterthoughts tends to be quite consistent if not very effective. My primary pattern is usually to give myself a hard time for a while and then just let it go. So in reality I have very little learning.
So my challenge to you this week is to be aware of your own pattern of “afterthoughts”. Do you find yourself thinking “if only I had…” If you do then consider how this pattern of thinking serves you. Does it make you feel better? Do you learn from it? Are you better able to handle similar situations subsequently?
So this week as you find your self having “afterthoughts” remind yourself that you get to decide what you want to do with these thoughts and how you want to make them work for you