February 2, 2022

The right "what if?" questions seek possibilities

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Posted by Sharmarke Hujale

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2 min read

Cheryl A. Russell wrote in her blog on how to ignite your creative genius that: "Positive 'what if?' questions often lead to 'WOW' answers."

By asking ourselves the question "what if?", we are letting our minds wander and see possibilities without filtering the answer. The good thing about the technique is that it focuses on curiosity.

Not only can you use it on your own, but also when you're with other people—whether that's during brainstorming, concept development, or prototyping.

The question "what if?" can be used as a tool to build on each other's ideas without shooting them down.

You would be surprised how a simple "what if?" can be so effective—but it also has to be phrased in a way that's not judgmental to ourselves and others. As with any other skills, it takes practice to say the right "what if?" at the appropriate time.

On the other hand, what's the deal with a negative "what if?" question?

Nina Amir gives a good picture of what a negative "what if?" would look like in her blog.

If you said to yourself: "What if... I'm not good enough?" or to others: "What if... we don't go with that idea because it sounds stupid?"

"The more often you say “what if” and follow it with words that describe a negative scenario, the more often you focus your attention on a potentially negative future."

If we already picture and articulate a negative possibility in our mind, we create that possibility through our action—we end up creating fear and anxiety for ourselves.

As Nina Amir says: "Where you focus goes, energy flows."

The way to battle this is to imagine a positive future. And it is a battle—battle of the mind. But it's a battle worth fighting.

"Allow your “what-if” questions to help you change your focus and mindset. Let them lead you to the necessary, so you can make your positive potential vision of the future real."

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