“What if nobody shows up to my grand opening?”
“What if no one listens when I give my presentation?”
“What if my prospect says no?”
These questions hammer away at us, causing our fight or flight instinct to kick in and get the hell out of what our mind is interpreting as a dangerous situation. Hundreds of thousands of years of evolution has developed this ability, keeping us alive from real threats like short faced bears, sabertooth cats, and the Dementors.
(Prison Mike gets it)
This is awesome when those dangers are real, I mean, they keep you from being eaten by a super predator. They are less awesome when those dangers are perceived and cause you to change your approach to life. These are the dangers that cause you to stop pursuing things that interest you. This is what stops you from starting at a new business, from trying to learn a second language, to stare at your phone rather than talk to the stranger next to you at the coffee shop, and essentially, it causes you to live a life as a watered down version of yourself.
The reason behind this, is that we often think in what are referred to as “Negative what-ifs” (or Dementors, whatever you prefer). We view things as a worst case scenario, and life gets scary. That prehistoric brain kicks in and tells you to nope right out of the situation altogether.
A powerful tool to add to your arsenal is a “Positive what-if” statement. When you find yourself getting anxiety about a situation; be it a first date, project, or getting a handle on your finances, reframe the negative statement as a positive. Frame this in a “What’s the BEST thing that could happen?” scenario.
“What if I go to this interview and bomb it? I’m not going to be able to pay for my own place, which means I won’t find someone to date me, because I’ll have to move home with my parents, and now I’m going to die alone!” (Wow, that escalated quickly.)
“What if I absolutely crush this interview and get the job? What if I am awesome at it, move up in the company, make double what I used to, get to finally live that dream life I am always thinking about. What if Blake Lively finally responds to my DM’s?!”
One of these things makes you much more excited to walk into this interview than the other, and that attitude is noticed by everyone around you. You carry yourself differently, you begin being bolder, you open yourself to more opportunities and you grow as an individual. You become a goddamned force of nature, and that’s EXACTLY what you were meant to be.
So try it out this week; when you find yourself asking, “What if things go wrong?”, ask yourself, “What if things go right?” I promise that life gets a lot more fun when you do.