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What Would Happen If... A Magical Question

Posted by Josh Patrick

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Yup, that’s right… this is my favorite question and it should be yours too. Too often we come up with a negative answer for something when we just need to ask a question. The question I want you to ask is “what would happen if?”

You see when you ask a question instead of giving an answer; you find that possibilities open up you’ve never thought about before. You find that your world expands.

Why what would happen if?

I think this is the most power question in the English language. Instead of coming up with an answer the question forces you to think. It forces you to consider the possibilities, and it forces you to move out of your comfort zone.

Too often we have an automatic answer when we run across something we don’t like or don’t understand. Our answer often in this situation is a fast no. I don’t want you to use a fast no. I want you to consider possibilities and the question, “what would happen if” is the perfect way to do this.

What is the magic in the particular question?

The magic here is suspending belief. If you take a few minutes to ask yourself what if the thing you’re considering would work you find that often you’ll find a way for it to work. Or, you might decide that after consideration, it’s not worth the time and effort. Both are good answers to get and both will come from questioning your belief system.

When I ask myself “what would happen if” I often find that my reasons for not doing something are silly. And then, there are the times where I become even more clear on reasons I don’t think doing a particular activity is a good idea.

The question automatically puts you into scenario planning.

Scenario planning is where you think about different ways something might play out. When you ask “what would happen if” you find that there is almost always more than one answer. You’ll find that options appear that you never thought about.

Too often we decide with a thought process that brings us down one road. The truth is, you almost always have several ways an idea could play out. You don’t want to be overly optimistic or pessimistic. Doing scenario planning by asking “what would happen if” allows you to focus on various outcomes and then choose the action that will probably get you the best result.

Scenario planning also allows you to have a pivot just in case your first idea doesn’t play out as well as you would like it. I don’t know about you, but I often find my first idea is not always my best one. When I start with “what would happen if” I develop better options and if the first one doesn’t pan out, then I have other ways to go. It keeps me from getting stuck.

Your world gets bigger.

When you think about other options, your world automatically gets bigger. Isn’t that something you would like to see happen in your life?

We don’t have unlimited resources or options in our life. We have a lot more than we ever think we have. When you ask an open-ended question and spend some time really thinking about what those options are, you often find a more elegant solution than if you just go with the first thing that crosses your mind.

You might even find that you become more audacious in how you live your life.

I know that when I use this magic question; the world becomes less scary. I know that I become brave and think audacious thoughts about what is possible and I might even take risks that I would have never taken before.

The reason is simple. I’ve played out what the options are. I know there are fall-back positions I can take. I know that if my first idea doesn’t work, there are other things I can do.

The truth for me and for you is we all have a lot more that is possible. We often are just scared to take the jump. Using my magic question might help you take the leap you know you’ve wanted to take forever.

Why don’t you try it? Why don’t you ask yourself “what would happen if” next time a dilemma appears in your life?

Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think about asking yourself the question, “what would happen if”.

Topics: asking questions, curiosity, what would happen if?, being curious

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