The absolutely best, most creative question ever asked is: “What if?”
This little question has generated countless books, movies and plays. What if a Danish prince discovers that his mother’s new husband is his father’s murderer? What if a young girl falls down a rabbit hole and finds another world? What if boy meets girl, boy loses girl and then boy finds girl again?
“What if?” has also spawned greatness in other ways. Like peach salsa. Like penicillin. Like new roses. Like Impressionist paintings. Like iPads.
And yet at the very same time “what if?” is our biggest stumbling block to success.
“What if I make a mistake?”
“What if I don’t like it?”
“What if it’s not really possible?”
“What if I’m wrong?”
The stewing and fretting so many of us devote to the potentiality of every single possible “what if?” scenario keeps us completely stuck.
“What if?” we ask. “What if? What if? What if? What if? What if? What if? What if?”
Yet the irony is, like the proverbial two-edged sword, it’s only by asking “what if?” that we can be free to move forward.
What if you don’t like it? Well, what if you do? You will never know until you try, so why not just try?
What if you fail? Well, have you failed before? Bet you have. I sure have – recently. And, look: you and I are still above ground and breathing, so that means we are probably stronger and more resilient than we give ourselves credit for. Failure proves it.
What if it’s not really possible? Or if you’re wrong? Well, then, at least you have collected data which shows you what’s not going to work. Which only makes it more possible for you to figure out what will work.
Pollyanna-ish? Unrealistic? Are you thinking that perhaps I don’t understand the stakes involved? How pressured your situation is? How overwhelmed you are?
Oh, I understand quite well. Believe me.
I hear it every day. And lived it myself.
But there’s one thing I know. You can make it easier on yourself by simply choosing to use the creative “what if?” rather than the limiting “what if?”
That’s all. Once choice. One little choice to come at your overwhelm and pressure and deadlines and stuff from a slightly different angle.
And create something wonderful.