What if? Have you ever asked yourself this question? This question—this phrase, rather—contains two simple words. But these two words hold the key to endless possibilities. Like a small stone thrown into the calm waters of a pond, these words have the power to upset the tranquility of our mundane existence through the ripples created by their presence. What if?—this is my power phrase.
I ask myself what if questions on a daily basis to make simple choices which could produce lasting results. What if I sleep in tomorrow morning? What if I wake up thirty minutes earlier than usual? By sleeping in, I might allow my body to recover from the strain of the previous day’s stress. If I wake earlier, I could get a head start on my to-do list before the unknowns of the new day distract me from my goals. What if I buy those new jeans? What if I save my money instead? Posing the question of “what if” forces me to come to a crossroads. It gives me the opportunity to think through options I might otherwise overlook.
My personal relationships are fueled by taking a moment to reflect on the consequences of the ripples created by these two words. What if I choose to nag my husband for leaving a mess in the kitchen? What if I thanked him for cooking the meal so I could unwind after a stressful day? What if I ignored his selfless gesture completely? All three of these questions create three different scenarios; and, in turn, each scenario either strengthens our marriage or chips away at our love for each other. Often times, these two words reveal both the hurt I am capable of inflicting and the love I am able to show toward others.
Imagination takes flight with two words. As a fiction writer, I shape characters and events from creative thinking. All of my stories begin with my asking hundreds of questions beginning with “What if”. What if my main character gets in a car accident? What if he suffers a severe injury? What if his injury makes him stronger than before? What if his injury is the end of his faith? What if he comes out of the accident unscathed but someone else is hurt instead? What if my character dies? These questions once again lead to fathomless scenarios and endings to my story. When I am at a dead end with my writing, my power phrase saves me from crumpling up my work and throwing it in the trash.
What if you took this phrase as your own? What if you thought through similar questions when presented with conflict? What if you embraced the ocean of chances and choices available to you? What if I stopped here and let you ask the questions for yourself?