Two small but powerful words. “What” implies a question. “If” allows you to presume and suppose—moving beyond what you’re currently doing. “What if” allows you to change your way of thinking. It gets you to go beyond the status quo and come up with a new way to do things “What if” shakes things up a bit.
“What if” I start looking for a job that’s really fulfilling?
“What if” I stop being angry at my parents?
“What if” I clean the house less and play with my kids more?
“What if” I actually took that trip?
“What if” I start taking steps toward the life I really want?
“What if” is at the heart of innovation, change, imagination, and progress. “What if” dares to do things differently.
To be clear, “what if” is not about the past. What’s done is done and looking back with regret serves no one. “What if” is about the future. It’s about possibilities. It generates excitement and creative thinking. Like a good brainstorming session, “what if” allows you to put anything and everything on the table for consideration.
Kids harness the power of “what if” all the time. They think anything is possible. And if it’s not possible in their everyday world, they imagine and pretend, trying to create it. A little girl puts on grown up shoes and imagines she’s going to a party. A little boy picks up a broom and pretends he’s a cowboy. This “what if” thought process in kids allows them to try something different—beyond where they are today. It makes them think about what they might want in the future. For kids “what if” is never about the past. Kids are constantly looking ahead.
Tapping into your “what if” lets you acknowledge that you have choices. Knowing you have choices motivates you and give you hope.
When you’re stuck or in a rut and need inspiration, try playing "what if". Don’t limit yourself to what’s practical. This exercise is more about being open and unfiltered. It’s about not being afraid. It’s about daring to dream of a different way.
Imagine if Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers, or Steve Jobs hadn’t said “what if”. The greatest minds in history lived in the world of “what if”. What a great gift that was to us.
So, stop what you’re doing for just a minute and think about the future. Ask yourself, “what if”. These two small words could change your life.