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Value Creation Blog

My Favorite Question: What Would Happen If?

Posted by Josh Patrick

What if  resized 600It’s a pretty simple question don’t you think?  It only has four words and it can change your world.  That little question, “what would happen if?” forces you to think about the world in a different way.

You and I see the world in a pretty specific way.  Sometimes it’s a good idea to try to think about our world differently.

Don’t think what works today will work tomorrow.

You and I both know the world is changing.  It seems to me the world is changing faster and faster.  That means that we need process around helping ourselves keep up with change.

Asking the question “what would happen if?” provides process.  Just asking this question starts you checking whether the belief systems you have today are what you’re going to need tomorrow.  I know that when I ask this question is helps me think about the world in a different way.  Do you think it might help you do the same thing?

This question will force you to ask a better question.

It might even force you to ask a question in the first place.  This question forces you to go two options.  You’re going to most likely put together several alternatives that could happen.  I know that once I start generating ideas more ideas start flowing. 

The problem we often have is we think there are only two options for something.  I rarely find this is true.  Most of the time there are a lot more than two options.  It’s when you move past two option belief system that magic can happen.

Your opinion just might be wrong.

I know this is hard for you to believe, and I know it is for me.  I like to think I have all the answers.  When I ask a what if question I get to check my premises.  Most of the time I’m happy with my original thought.  There are those times and those times are when I really need to look at other options.  Not doing so has cost me lots of money in more than one instance.

It’s a great way to help someone else open up their thought process.

When someone is stuck, using what would happen if helps people think more broadly without telling others they’re wrong.  When you get in someone else’s face there is always pushback.  This is a much more gentle way of asking someone to check their premises.

The idea in asking the question what would happen if isn’t to prove that you’re right.  The purpose is to broaden the conversation.  If you try to use this question to prove others wrong it will backfire on you.

Don’t forget to use the phrase, “let’s pretend.”

You’re going to find at some point that the person you’re talking with won’t play.  They’ll decide that it’s too dangerous for them to ask the magic question.  When you ask them to pretend there might be other options, and their sub-conscious opens up allowing your conversation partner to consider other options.

I find that when I disagree with someone my idea isn’t necessarily the right one.  When we both look at a different alternative we often come up with a better answer. 

Are you willing to give it a try?  What would happen if you did?

One of my favorite tools is a mind map.  This tool allows me to put together complicated information on one page where the information is easily understood.  If you’re interested click on the button below and you can see our mind map on becoming a passive owner.  It’s one of the most powerful strategies you can pursue to create value in your business.  You might even get more time to ask if there’s a better way.  To get this mind map, click on the button below.


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Topics: value creation, learning experiences, passive ownership

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