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The Power of “What if”

By David Breslow - Posted on 25 November 2008

The words, “what if” may be the two most powerful words you can use in your business, your sport and your life. These two powerful words put into question form can help you:

  1. Create new possibilities
  2. Take new steps and break unproductive patterns

This question can be used both positively or negatively. When used negatively the “what if?” question sounds like this (some may seem very familiar to you?).

  • “What if I can’t do this?”
  • “What if I mess this up?”
  • “What if this doesn’t work?”
  • “What if I look bad?”
  • “What if I bogey this hole?”, what if?, what if? what if?...
Questions like this tend to produce results like this:
  1. Tension
  2. Doubt
  3. Fear
  4. Errors
  5. Lack of Confidence
  6. Hesitancy and lack of power and rhythm

Take this example of a typical golfer I have worked with to improve their use of "What if?".

Pat is a 12 handicap and is constantly demeaning and judging herself on (and off) the golf course. She approaches her shots with a fear she might “mess up” and doesn’t enjoy her rounds as much as she’d like. She uses the power of “what if?” to create poor results and under performs on the golf course.

I asked Pat to use the power of “what if?” in a more constructive manner than she had been. I asked her to ask herself: “What if I hit this shot the way I want to?” and “What if I really enjoyed myself regardless of the outcome of this shot?” These were options she did not have before because she was so focused on the negative “what ifs?” that she couldn’t see other possibilities. By asking her new set of questions she discovered an entirely new viewpoint and created a more fun and relaxed experience for herself. The result; lower scores and rounds of golf that are more fulfilling.

What if you changed the way you used the question?
What if you decided to use it to create more of what you wanted instead of more of what you didn’t want?
Hmmmm. What if?
Try this experiment. Next time you feel any doubt, fear, pressure or tension. Stop and ask yourself one of the following:
  • What if I was clear right now? What would I do?
  • What if I was confident right now? How would I act?
  • What if I hit this golf shot just the way I really want to?
  • What if I took a smooth rhythmical swing right now?
  • What if I was totally confident right now? What would I look like?
  • What if I didn’t give in to my habitual “tapes” playing in my head right now? What would I be thinking then?
  • What if I _______________________ (fill in the blank) right now?

What If you give this a go on your next round?

I cover this topic and other mental game topics in more detail on my Wired to Win Video Training Program.

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