Last week’s blog post focused on the idea that your ability to consider consequences—your “What If” thinking—could be positive or negative for you.
If you’re focused on all the things that could possibly go wrong, most likely, those “what ifs” will drive you to focus on negatives, maybe even potential catastrophes. When you’re focused on negative consequences, that’s what you may tend to create. Why? Because that’s where your focus is. The ideas that come to you will more likely have to do with negative outcomes, and when your focus is on negative things you don’t want to see happen, it’s a recipe for anxiety as well as being a recipe for attracting all that negativity and unfortunate outcomes.
While it may be fine to consider what might go wrong so that you can prepare for it and fix it, if your focus is only on what could go wrong, you most likely won’t have enough creative energy to dream about a big, successful outcome.
You see, both types of “what if” thinking are necessary for success. The awareness of what can go wrong is fine if it leads you to take steps to repair the weak areas in your plan. But maybe even more important is the ability to think “what if” in a positive direction.
Businesses that are successful, and people who are really successful allow themselves to consider “what if” to allow them to stretch and build something that maybe no one has thought of before.
Innovation depends upon examining positive “what ifs.” Thomas Edison considered what would happen if we could harness energy to light our homes. The Wright Brothers thought about creating a machine that humans could ride in what might fly from one place to another. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs used slightly different approaches to focus on the “what if” question of what if a computer didn’t have to take up a whole floor of a building?
The positive “what ifs” focus on possibilities. It allows people to invent things people have never seen before. It allows the creation of new approaches, new methods, new techniques, and entirely new fields and professions.
One of the “what if” questions I always ask myself when I want to stimulate thinking about positive “what ifs” is
“What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”
That approach lets you take any negative “what ifs” out of consideration and allows you to dream big. It allows you to consider possibilities that you might not have thought possible.
The idea with this question and with positive “what if” thinking is that it allows you to bypass your limitations, and by doing that, you’re able to dream bigger and stretch yourself more. Maybe you’ll consider doing something or creating something that you hadn’t thought possible because of your previous focus on the negative.
Imagining “what if” possibilities allows you to make choices and to uncover where your greatest passion lies. It allows you to let go of self-imposed limitations—like thinking “that can’t be done,” or “that would be impossible.” It allows you to imagine “what if it could be done?” That gets your mind working to problem-solve and to create new approaches and new ideas.
You’re able to harness your brain to work for you, instead of against you. When that happens there are no limits to where you can go and what you can accomplish.
When you think about harnessing your brain this way, does that make you feel empowered? Fearful? Overwhelmed? Cynical? Optimistic? If you need help exploring how this positive “what if” thinking might work in your life, I’d be happy to talk with you about it in a free half-hour phone call. During that call, I’ll work with you to figure out your next step. Email me at Linda@InnerResourceCenter.com or call me at 865-983-7544. Sometimes all it takes is having somebody to bounce an idea off of. I’ve been fortunate in my life to have people I could do that with, so I’m happy to serve that purpose for others. Because my “what if” is
“What if we all reached out to others who need or want a sounding board?
What if we encouraged each other to move forward?
What if we helped each other overcome limitations that block us?
What if we each used our unique abilities to help others succeed?
What could our world be like?”
Take the first step today to create what is possible. Let me help.
(c) 2017 Linda S. Pucci, Ph.D. All rights reserved.