The Difference Between If And When

the difference between if and whenThere is a huge difference between if and when; and how you use those two words in your everyday language can have a major impact on the results that you see for yourself in life.

Last week I had to correct my own personal language at least twice. Building this business and being a life coach and having all of this develop into what I envision has taken a lot of time and energy over the years, and to be honest I am NOT where I want to be yet but I am getting there.

Sometimes it is discouraging and I have some days (they are rare) where quitting appears to be an appealing option. Fortunately, those days don’t happen too often as most days I am optimistic and committed to moving forward. Even last Monday, all day, I had that huge belief and kept telling myself “I am this close” to having it all as I have always planned and everything working out.

Everything is going in the right direction and I believe that it has a lot to do with how I use specific words, especially choosing between if and when and how I apply those words every day. What I caught myself doing twice last week was saying “If I make this all work” referring to building the business, and what I ended up saying out loud after correcting myself was “WHEN I make this all work.” Can you see the difference?

The Difference Between If and When

Our speech and the words we choose to use truly hold power and we can use our language either in our favor or at our detriment, and the difference between if and when can mean all of the difference in the world.

It’s not if you get the new job… it’s when you get the new job.

It’s not if you get the promotion… it’s when you get the promotion.

It’s not if you win the race… it’s when you win the race.

It’s not if you can find the time… it’s when you make the time.

By switching how the words if and when are used in the statements above you can clearly see the difference in impact each statement has.

Start paying attention to what you say and how you say it. When you catch yourself saying if and what you really meant to say was when then reword and repeat your statement using when instead. Notice how it changes your outlook and how you feel about things… I bet once you do that, you will begin to use the word when a lot more where you used to say if.

There is a difference between if and when and the difference is huge!

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Certified Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado

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Photo By Andy Wooten 11 August 2011


  1. […] By doing this on a regular basis, your brain will begin to default to a more positive mode of thinking where you turn can’t into can. It is no different from learning how to say when instead of if. […]

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