One of my favourite TV shows on Disney+ is their ‘What If?’ Marvel series. Copying an idea from the comics, it looks at things in a new light or from a new slant.
Like, what if Peggy took the super serum and became Captain America instead of Steve Rodgers? What if T’Challa was kidnapped and taken into space instead of Peter Quill? What if Doctor Strange didn’t lose the power of his hands but lost the love of his life instead?
And each time, even though we’ve got the same cast, the end result is far different. Sometimes even better than the original. – Well in my eyes anyway. The Doctor Strange episode was particularly heartbreaking.
Most of us never do that, we follow the same recipe as everyone and get the same result. And how could we expect it to change if we’re putting the same ingredients in and following the same process? – It’s going to be sponge cake every single time. Even though we might want chocolate cake.
Back when we were kids the power of ‘What If?’ fueled our imagination. What if my dog could talk? What if this cardboard box was a spaceship? What if I’m a cop and you’re a robber? What if the carpet in the front room is lava, and I have to cross it? – Just throwing ‘What If’ into the last example sure makes that boring front room more exciting, and that coffee table that you never paid attention to is perfect for the leap to the sofa to safety.
As adults, we put our imagination on the backburner. School was where most of us had it drummed out of us. Don’t look out the window. Repeat what I’m telling you. And stop daydreaming. And so we were moulded into the herd way of doing things, copying the other guy/gal and getting the same result that they get. – Teachers included.
But what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if you could lift the lid on the limitations you’ve got in that noggin of yours? – What if?
Like the Marvel series, asking yourself the ‘What If’ question can make a huge difference to the order of the ingredients, or even if you use any or all of them. It can also help in the initial moments of a new project when you doubt your ability.
What if I could write a great article today? Is a much better starting point than asking yourself the ‘How could I?’ question. One is filled with possibilities, the other is looking back through what we’ve done in the past and wondering if we could do it. – And chances are good because we’ve never done it before, we’ll doubt ourselves and drop out at the first opportunity.
What if, also allows us to look at the solution rather than the problem. That there are other ways of doing the thing we do. That if we travelled to other areas of the world we’d find people solving our problem in ways we never thought of. That ‘What if?’ our hero was in this situation, we’d look at our problem through their eyes and not our own.
A prime example of this was a study done on kids that had to solve difficult maths problems. Allowed to wear their favourite superhero costume in class, the kids stayed with the questions for longer than before. And all because they were looking at them through Batman or Wonder Woman’s eyes.
What if, also allows you to question the order of things. What if the audiobook was made before the text version? What if I checked my emails at the end of the day? What if the podcast episode became a video, and not a video into a podcast episode? What if I started with a high priced coaching program, instead of starting with a ten buck PDF?
‘What If?’ might seem like only two words, but there’s a lot more power in them than you realise.
Now ‘What if?’ you took action on this today?