The Power of ‘What If?’

This is a speech I wrote when I was in Toastmasters.

Reach

Reach

Take a moment to look around, and become aware of your surroundings.

Glance at the person sitting beside you.

Now that you’re acquainted with what’s on the outside, I’d like to spend the rest of our time together looking at what’s inside.

Ask yourself this question, “Am I satisfied with my life?”

What’s the answer? Do you  Immediately say “Yes, things are fine.”

Is that really true?

If we had no dreams or ambitions, the status quo would be good enough.

But we do dream of greater things.

The problem is we tell ourselves those dreams are just flights of fancy, and that we belong on earth with our feet on the ground.

Dreams are for people who are afraid to face reality.

What we sometimes forget is that yesterday’s dreams are today’s reality.

We’ve got light bulbs, airplanes, a polio vaccine, female members of congress.

We take those things for granted, but they each began with the dream of a single person.

We tell ourselves:

“I am who I am, and that is that.”

“Greatness is for other people.”

What if Martin Luther King, Jr. had said that?

So what-if I dream?

What if? What if? – two simple words that can change everything.

‘What if’ opens the door to possibilities

‘What if’ shines light on paths that were once shrouded in darkness

Close your eyes and think “What if? What if?”

Do you see pictures in your mind that haven’t appeared since childhood?

Do you see yourself strong and brave and beautiful? Are you fighting fires, building bridges, writing novels, changing lives?

You see something like that, don’t you? When your eyes are closed, there is only you.

There are no well-meaning friends advising you not to take risks, there are no TV commercials telling you that your skin is too wrinkled, or that your car is too small.

When you close your eyes, there is only you.

You  with the potential to do absolutely anything.

What if?

What if you decide to institute a new rule in your life?

The rule is, “no more saying the words “I can’t.”

It’s a hard rule to follow because we face difficult challenges every day.

If you’re tired of your job and it occurs to you that there are other jobs out there, it’s very likely that the thought of searching for a new job makes you nervous.

So you come up with hundreds of reasons why you should just stay where you are.

“I can’t quit my current job. I can’t afford to be unemployed for any length of time.”

“I can’t look for a new job while I’m still at this job, I don’t have the time.”

“I can’t imagine starting over at a new place.”

Now none of these excuses is unreasonable, but you could look at them as challenges rather than barriers.

What if you said, “I can start saving money and soon have enough of a cushion to be able to quit and look for a new position.”?

Or

“I can search for jobs after work instead of watching TV.”

“I can imagine starting again because I’ll be coming to a new place with skills, experience, and enthusiasm.”

I’ll meet lots of great new people.”

What if you made a decision to see yourself with eyes open, the way you see yourself with eyes closed?

What if you decide to open your life to the question “What if?”

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