What If and if if was a fifth

Have you ever heard this phrase: “If if was a fifth, we’d all be drunk?

As a child, I remember hearing this all the time and finally had to ask my mom what it meant. She said, “The world is full of “if’s”. If this, if that…if someone drank a fifth of alcohol by himself, he’d be drunk. Thus, as much as people say “If”, they’d be drunk if it was a fifth.

So with that said, Let’s Get Wasted! Wait, no. I’m gonna propose that we stop all the drinking; stop all the Ifs.

While waiting in the doctor’s office, I saw this image below. Granted it was a HPV poster, but it got me thinking about all the Ifs I said in my life….all the Ifs I never acted on. Where would I be if I’d taken a chance on one of those Ifs???

Click photo to view larger image

Now, that’s not to say I’d be in a better place. I love the path my life has taken thus far but I’m still curious. It’s our fear that keeps us from acting on our goals and dreams, for whatever reason. I told myself I won’t be afraid of success, of change, of new and different anymore. Act on [some of] the Ifs!

If “If” Was a Fifth 

People who spend their lives wishing things would or could be different are drunk on either of these 3 things: 1)  immobility; 2) living in the future; or 3) living in the past.

The “What ifs” occur in all aspects of our lives – big and small. Can you identify with any of these:

  • What if I had chosen a different career, the one I’m passionate about?
  • What if I had the courage to go for that seemingly impossible goal?
  • What if the first words out of my mouth today were compliments?
  • What if I didn’t take personally the mistakes others around me make today?
  • What if I make the wrong decision?
  • What if I fail?
  • What if I make a fool of myself?
  • What if?

Note: For fun What If exercises, check out Nicole’s post: “The What If Prompts“.

How To Escape The What If Trap

One of the things that helps me these days escape the what if trap is knowing that when I make a decision to go after what I want and it doesn’t turn out like I wanted, I can make a new decision to do something different. Knowing this keeps me sane whereas I used to go crazy asking myself “What if it doesn’t go right?” I struggled with making up my mind for far too long.

The question I asked myself to turn this rut around was “Can I really be happy staying in my comfort zone and never doing something because I fear I will fail?” The answer was a resounding NO!

So here are some escape tips to get out of the what if trap.

  • Know that your decision is not permanent; you can always change your mind.
  • Take action on the things you do want and notice what you learned.

What are your big What If’s? How do you escape the What If trap? I’d love to hear your thoughts so please share your comments below.

Image credit

Wassuper, it's yo girl, Kesha and I believe we should Be the Fruit Loop in a world full of Cheerios because life is more interesting when you dare to be different and challenge what's "normal!" I am wildly passionate about helping highly driven women pursue fantabulous relationships, juicytastic careers/bizzes, and authentically inspired lives.
If If Was a Fifth, We’d All Be Drunk

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  • in germany we have a saying: “if the word if wouldn.t be my dad would be a millionaire” – roughly translated 🙂

    yes if is the big border i can.t come across these days.

    if i am doing everything right i shall be successful – my big if –and i have the feeling i am doing everything right and yet the if doesn.t work 😛

    • LOL, yep even in German, the saying is still giving the same conclusion – living on “ifs” isn’t good for anybody 🙂


  • I loved this post! Just this week with my personal coach, we were discussing the idea of there not being such a thing as failure. There are only outcomes. We sometimes, I think don’t take risks ’cause we’re afraid that we’ll “fail.” But, what IF we thought of those risks as a chance to grown, learn, and simply get feedback? This post was so timely for me in my processing. Intellectually, I’ve known this stuff, but it’s becoming more apparent in my own life that I need to live it.

    Thanks for sharing this. 🙂

    • I’m with you Lisa and I know we’re sisters somehow 🙂 We do inherently know some of these things. I wish we humans would end this cycle of “failing” to know how powerful we are, myself included sometimes. I want us to start with our kids so that it becomes a learned behavior to try try try and try some more…knowing that each time we don’t reach our goal, it’s not a failure but one more step to the success we seek 🙂

      Am I wishfully thinking too much?


      • No, not wishful thinking at all. I don’t have kids, but I want that for kids too! 🙂 I so hear you…and, yes, I think we are sisters too…heehee! 😀

  • You hit another one out of the park, Kesha.

    Losing the What ifs is harder than it seems but a great goal to pursue.

    I think becoming comfortable with getting out of your comfort zone is an awesome goal.

    But then again, if at first you don’t succeed……..

    • I love that Cher Bear – “becoming comfortable with getting out of your comfort zone” – sounds like a new post coming 😉


  • Aloha Lakesha, very interesting analogy with some great tips and suggestion. I’m guilty of the what “if’s” myself and definitely need to work on me a lot, but I am making some improvements and I am proud of that. Mahalo for all the wonderful insights you shared here. Lani 🙂

    • Aloha to you as well Lani!

      A lot of us are guilty of this but now that we’ve learned strategies to do something different, I think we’ll end up creating more, living better, and doin0g more powerful things in life 🙂


  • My favorite thing to say is “wouldn’t it be cool if…?” I say this whenever I’m even tempted to be negative about a situation. Turns things right around. A coworker was stressed, because she thought our boss was planning to have a corrective meeting with her; I responded “wouldn’t it be cool if he’s planning on promoting you?”

    It didn’t work with her, but it made me smile.

    • I always love your strategies Kim and thank you for adding your feedback as others can definitely use your advice as well!

      Wouldn’t it be cool if at least person used your question strategy to create some awesome things in his/her life? 🙂


  • I must admit Kesha, that’s a first for me. I’ve never heard “if if was a fifth, we’d all be drunk”. However, I like it! That’s totally a keeper! 😀 The title drew me right on in, and once I read it I was even more hooked to this article. 🙂

    I’ve had my share of what if’s, and I swear I am doing all I can to rid myself of them. I’ve been doing a swell job at it too. Every time one pops up I talk right back to it, and tell it, “Well, you should’ve did it, but since you didn’t it’s time to move past that boo boo.” 😀

    Loved this though… this is a gem of gems! 🙂 Yes, mam… you put a hurting on this one. 🙂

  • I think that #2 is most powerful in my life. Knowing that I can make a different decision at any time and immediately begin to change things is really empowering. It keeps me from feeling totally trapped in the decision I made in the past and reminds me that I have the ultimate control.

    • Me too Steve – knowing I can do something different at the drop of a thought makes me breathe better 😉


  • If only I had read this 10 years ago! Seriously, I never heard of this expression before but it makes a great deal of sense. We waste so much time in our “if only . . .” state of mind that it’s easy to forget we can -fill in the blank- only IF we act on our dreams and wishes.
    Love your tips Kesha- keep it coming girl!


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