Two of the saddest words in the English language are “if only”. I live my life with the goal of never having to say those words, because they convey regret, lost opportunities, mistakes, and disappointment.
My father is famous in our family for saying, “Take the extra minute to do it right.” I always try to live by the “extra minute” rule. When my children were young and likely to cause accidents, I always thought about what I could do to avoid an “if only” moment, whether it was something minor like moving a cup full of hot coffee away from the edge of a counter, or something that required a little more work such as taping padding (衬垫) onto the sharp corners of a glass coffee table.
I don’t only avoid those “if only” moments when it comes to safety. It’s equally important to avoid “if only” in our personal relationships. We all know people who lost a loved one and regretted that they had foregone an opportunity to say “I love you” or “I forgive you.” When my father announced he was going to the eye doctor across from my office on Good Friday, I told him that it was a holiday for my company and I wouldn’t be here. I know there will still be occasions when I have to say “if only” about something, but my life is definitely better because of my policy of doing everything possible to avoid tha