Written by Catherine Pulsifer
IF and WHEN were friends. Every week they met and had lunch. Their conversation usually centered on all the things they were going to achieve. They both had many dreams and they loved to talk about them.
This particular Saturday when they met, WHEN sensed that IF was not in a great mood. As usual they sat at the table reserved for them and ordered their lunch. Once they placed their order, WHEN questioned IF. “IF what is wrong with you? You don’t seem your usual cheery self?”
IF looked at WHEN and replied, “I’m not sure, I just don’t feel like I am making any progress. This last week I saw a course I wanted to take if only I had the time to take it.”
WHEN knew exactly how IF felt. “Yeah, ” replied WHEN, “I too saw a course and I am going to register when I get enough money together.” WHEN then said, “well what about that new job you were going to apply for. You were so excited about it last week, did you apply?”
IF responded, “If my computer didn’t break down last week, I would have applied. But, my computer is not working, so I could not type my resume.”
“Don’t worry about it IF, when you are ready another job will come through. I have been thinking about looking for another job also, but I will wait and when the weather gets nicer I will look then.” WHEN then went on to tell IF about his week, hoping that it would cheer him up a bit.
The man at the next table couldn’t help overhear WHEN and IF. They both were talking about when this and if that, finally he couldn’t take it anymore. “Excuse me gentlemen,” the man said. IF and WHEN both looked at the man and wondered what he wanted. The man continued, “I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help hearing your conversation. I think I know how you could solve your problems.”
IF smiled and thought, how could a complete stranger know how to solve all of their problems. If only he knew. When he realized the challenges they faced there was no way he could solve their problems! Curious, IF asked the gentleman, “How do you think you can solve our problems?”
The gentleman smiled and said, “You only need to listen to yourselves. It reminds me of an old proverb:
‘If and When were planted, and Nothing grew’.”
IF and WHEN looked puzzled. The gentleman smiled and said, “Start counting how many times you use the words ‘if’ and ‘when’. Rather than thinking ‘if and when’, start doing, take action, stop talking about ‘if and when’.”
IF and WHEN both looked surprised, and suddenly realized that what the gentleman had said was so true. Both of them were guilty of thinking, acting and living their life for the “ifs and whens”. The gentleman left and IF and WHEN’s conversation changed. they made a pact that when they met for lunch next week, there would be no “ifs and whens”; they would only talk about what they accomplished!