Is Hindsight Always 20/20?

In my post last month, “Growing into Your Garden,” I discussed how we need to come to accept our lot in life, even if it looks different from what we once envisioned. Whether we achieve the dreams we had or have to compromise for second best, however, we’re all subject to regretting something at one point or another. It may be a mistake on our part or just a so-called missed opportunity, but regardless, those what ifs can plague you for a long time.

We have a well-known saying because of this fact of life, “Hindsight is always 20/20,” meaning you can always see your mistakes after you suffer their consequences. “Should’ve, could’ve, would’ve,” is a phrase in the same vein. Of course, life would’ve been easier if we could live it in reverse and know what was awaiting us, allowing us to adjust our course to reap a different outcome. At the same time, though, can we really be sure altering our decisions would’ve bettered our situation?

For instance, you might be running late to work one morning, and then, to compound your tardiness, you encounter a back-up along your route. You tend to let out a few words and grumbles of frustration, maybe pound your head against the steering-wheel, and bewail everything that put you behind schedule. On the other hand, when you pass the collision that caused the traffic jam, you have to wonder, “Would I have been in that accident if I hadn’t been delayed?” More than likely, the people who were involved are rolling some What ifs around in their own minds.

I’m not encouraging unpunctuality, but the scenario illustrates how faulty our predictions can be. Speculations are never absolute, even when they pertain to everyday matters. We often picture the choices we make as being at a crossroads, where you either go down one path or the other. In truth, there are usually way more than two directions, and countless possibilities—good and bad—that arise after you make the initial pick. You may well have made the best decision, but underlying and unforeseen obstacles led to a poor result.

So, does our inability to predict outcomes mean that we should simply make decisions by flipping a coin? No. Our reasoning powers and the wisdom we acquire over the years can spare us a lot of trouble and lead us to success. When we meet with failure or at least unpleasant aftermath, however, acknowledging your limitation will help you resist beating yourself up with regret. Yes, matters may have turned out better if you’d done this or that, but they also may have turned out worse.

Bottom line is, none of us ever have 20/20 vision when it comes to making choices. We only get one chance to make that one choice, so we have to accept whichever one we make. Our imperfections cloud our perception, preventing us from truly making an objective judgement on our past, present, and future. Experience, maturity, and good friends can act as glasses, aiding our deficient sight to a degree. Still, don’t despair if those measures fail you. Rather, focus on how you can make the most of whatever results from your actions, instead of the hypothetical ways you could’ve changed them.

Not-So-Subtle Book Plug

Hunter Jett gets a second chance to right his wrongs, but will it go as planned? Find out in Forgetting My Way Back to You. Read it today!

One thought on “Is Hindsight Always 20/20?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s