Pure Genius: The Incredible Power of “What If?”
Ever wonder how people change the world? It’s simple, really. They make declarations that do just that—change the world, or at least the world those people live in. They can sound something like this:
“I’m going to get into the best shape of my life this year!”
“Our team is building our second product, and it will be twice as profitable as the first.”
“We’re going to take the White House and change the course of history!”
Declarations can be pretty dramatic, or they can be rather simple and straight forward. Without them, nothing tends to change. We just stick with the current paradigm or the old declaration. Quick: do you even know what that is?
Well, where then, do declarations come from? Every parent gets a similar question from their young child, and like babies, declarations start from a beautiful, powerful act. We call it a “what if?” question!
Why a Question?
Why start things with a question? Great question. Thanks for asking.
Questions literally open up (and also close) pathways in your brain that act like an itch. You just need to scratch them.
When a great question is posed, in a team meeting or at family dinner, our brains race to answer them…or in the case of teenagers, avoid them like the plague. Consider the relative power of questions that we hear often:
“When will you be home from the movies?”
“Where are we going on vacation?”
“How do we get this project moving forward again?”
With questions such as these, our brain knows pretty much what to do, since there are similar “precedents” and experiences we have in the past, so our brain uses these to find or quickly create an acceptable answer. We do this whether our answer is true, partially true, or completely false. Our brain simply knows what to do, when the subject material falls within the realm of questions we have fielded in the past.
So why, then, is a “what if?” question so much different?
Another great question, and one that your brain most likely does not have a ready answer.
The Power of a “What If?” Question as Opposed to Any Question
With a “normal” question, your brain uses previous information, previous data, or situational experience to concoct an acceptable answer. We do this quickly and transparently. We do it every day.
With a “what if?” question, our brain usually has no previous precedent, paradigm, or example to rely upon for an acceptable answer, and so the “fire drill” gets created where the answer heads to a different area of the brain. It’s the equivalent of Area 51 with the military. When this happens, we often say out loud, “Great question!”
“What if?” questions force us to imagine or create, often calling forth strong emotions. Consider the structure and possibilities of the following two questions:
“Where are we going on vacation this year?”
“What if we enjoyed our best vacation ever this year?”
Both deal with the quality and details associated with an annual ritual for many families—a great break designed for fun, relaxation, and togetherness.
With the first structure, “where are we going on vacation this year?” notice how your mind immediately conjures up options that are most likely known entities—perhaps a traditional family meeting spot, or a favorite “comfort” vacation that would be worth duplicating. Clearly, any option could come up as a possibility, but the linguistic structure of the first question does not steer you in that “new possibility direction—the direction of creativity. The linguistic structure triggers your brain function to compare and contrast past options, or options that were considered in years’ past, but never acted upon. Effective to take a good vacation, but more limited in what it produces…simply by its linguistic structure.
With the second structure, “what if we enjoyed our best vacation ever this year?” you also notice that it produces a new mandate: best ever! Your brain simply has to challenge itself to create the structure that fits a new paradigm, best ever. That standard or mandate could certainly be achieved by the structure of the first question, however it is not required as a standard the way it is required by the linguistic structure of “what if?”. Hence, the power!
Where Babies and Declarations Come From…A Beautiful, Powerful Act
Every parent has fielded the “where do babies come from?” question from a curious child, and without revealing the full beauty and power of the act required to create a baby, so too does your brain have to acknowledge the full beauty and power needed to create a declaration.
“What if?” questions produce, simply be their structure, the possibility for powerful declarations! Consider them as two sides of the same coin. They show up like this:
Question: “What if we enjoyed our best vacation ever?”
Declaration: “We are going to Rome and Milan on an art, history, food, and wine tour for 3 weeks this summer!”
Noting that art, history, food, and wine would show up high on my list for almost any great vacation (and architecture too), you would have your own version of what your “best vacation ever” would look like. Is that a national park you have never seen? Perhaps it’s a family genealogy trip to your family’s country of origin. Could it be a continent you have always wanted to explore?
The possibilities are endless, and when they are invented by the simple way you pose your question, you simply, powerfully, and beautifully change your world, by mandating opportunities and possibilities that simply were not possible prior to you posing your query.
Nicely done! You’re transforming as we speak.
Is More Better? Um…Yes!
If “what if?” questions are so beautiful and powerful, where then, can we utilize them best…to change the world at large, or just our little corner of it?
The short answer is this: everywhere where a change—large or small—is what you’re after! Consider these areas/themes to ask great “what if?” questions, and then create world changing declarations:
- health…shift from absence of disease to vitality and high energy
- adventure…shift from mundane to adventures booked, that you look forward to
- romance…what would you create different from what you have now?
- wealth/investments…create wealth on purpose, by design
- learning…what have you always wanted to learn, and how would you grow?
- permission/guilt…shift from asking permission to declaring direction!
The list seems endless. Where the mind can conceive it, the question can be asked…and then answered in the form of a powerful, world changing declaration!
The more you ask, the more your world and your life changes. Declarations have that power—to transform your life. If you do it really well (and why would you not?) your new declarations would be safer and more attractive than your current state. For example, if you currently carry a few too many pounds, have sluggish energy, and struggle with minor aches and pains, wouldn’t it be safer and more attractive to transform your health to a state where you have abundant energy, optimal weight, and you feel fit and sexy?
I suggest that declaration will only follow the question that sounds something like, “What if I got into the best shape of my life?”
You would then create the standards which equate to a safer and more attractive version of your body and mind, and then work towards that declaration. Simply asking the question and making the declaration to change shifts your entire world…and the quality of your life!
What Comes First For YOU?
Suggestion: If you are going to change the world, or at least your little part of the world, start with ONE theme or category. Pick a simple theme that will pay big dividends. Health is a great one, as everyone can envision a higher version of vitality, energy, weight, strength, and sexiness that go along with getting into and staying in great physical condition.
Please know that when you shift one thing, you will shift everything in your life! That’s why (personal) declarations and “what if?” questions contain such incredible power. The shifts you make in your health will affect your sleep, your spirituality, your performance at work—your entire world? That’s what transformative declarations produce!
Pick your category. Ask a great “what if?” question. Answer it completely and without limitations, and then make your simple declaration.
You’ll transform your world, safely and more attractively than standing still.
All the best!