A statement out of a girlfriend or wife’s worst nightmare might go something like this: Fantasy football is life! I imagine that’d be near the pinnacle of cringe worthiness. And I agree. But that statement used as a literary device called a metaphor is 100% correct. I’m not sure about your life, but my life has not been perfect. I don’t live with regrets, as that’s an unproductive way to live, but of course there are some decisions that may have worked out better if I’d have chosen ‘A’ instead of ‘B.’
Enter fantasy football. I recently finished 7th out of 12 teams in one of my leagues —only 6 go to the playoffs. After 13 weeks played and thousands of points scored, I was few points short. A few points! It’s difficult to swallow. The inevitable woulda-coulda-shouldas begin. You remember all of those tough decisions you had to make between two players that didn’t work out. You might even get as specific as dammit, if I would have played Andre Brown instead of Steven Jackson in week 10, I’d be in the playoffs (true story by the way). But guess what? It doesn’t work like that, and it does you no good. And that’s exactly how life works.
Living in real time, you can only make decisions based on the information you have available to you. You can only try your best to weigh the pros and cons, the plusses and minuses, the likeliest outcomes. Once you do that, you make a choice and ride past the point of no return. You have no idea what will happen. That running back you decided to play might break his leg on the first play. That girl you married might end up as an ex-wife. But you didn’t know that! And you couldn’t have known that. My preachy point is that—and I should practice this myself (do as I say, not as I do)—when you honestly made the absolute best choice you could have possibly made with the information you had available to you, you have to accept it, and stand by it—even if it appears asinine in hindsight. No excuses, no woulda-coulda-shouldas, no contrasts to prove you’re the unluckiest person in the world: I did the best that I could do, and that’s what happened—period. I think that’s the only way to truly have a clear mind.
And look at it the other way. What if that decision worked out better than you could have imagined? What if that running back I decided to play had three touchdowns? What if the person you married you still found yourself happily married to 20 years down the road? It’s obvious. There would be nothing but self-congratulations, patting on the back, certainty of the decision made. But really, the decision process was the same. It’s almost as if the outcome is irrelevant. If you were content with your decision making process, and did as good as you could, that’s all that matters. The outcome may be as predictable as forecasting the weather on a particular day three months from now. Getting it wrong doesn’t make it a dumb decision, even though it might feel like it when you’re standing in freezing rain when you predicted 80 and sunny. So, let it be, let it burn, whatever you want to prescribe to it, it could have just as easily gone the other way. All you can do is move forward and make the best decision you can in the future.