The Lost Art of Option Thinking

white and black wooden chair

What if there were two little words that could help you unlock your imagination, allowing you to create the kind of future you would most like to have? What if these two words could boost your creativity, improve your decision-making power, and move you steadily toward a future that will give you what you want in life? What if you could put these two little words to work for you today?

And here is a little hint: You’ve already seen these two words not once, not twice, but three times in the past few seconds. Those two words are “what if,” and they are every bit as powerful as has been suggested.

If you have children, get into the habit of playing the “What If” game with them while they are still quite young. Ask them questions like, “What if you decided to show your teacher how smart and hard-working you really are?” or “What if you wanted to make tomorrow a super-special day?” You will be helping them learn to evaluate possibilities, and make wise choices by entering into conversation with themselves while exploring many alternatives.

While you are at it, why not play the game yourself? What if you decided to go back to school? What if you asked for a raise, or quit your job? What if you wanted to have the best marriage you could possibly have? And what if you decided to treat yourself like the loving, and lovable, person you are in every circumstance?

What if you, as a leader, decided to be open and engaging with your teams, and played the game to help solve an organizational challenge? What would happen to each individual’s self-worth if the boss sincerely wanted to know their take on the challenge? Nurturing “what if” in your team benefits the entire organization.

You get the idea. The “What If” game is an easy way to help you visualize your options, and focus on those that you really want to pursue; but you need to keep those options positive. You can “what if” yourself to the point that you scare yourself away from the possibilities of a new, positive future.

The “lost art” of option thinking doesn’t need to be so. It can become a new habit of thought, starting today.