I’ve said before that optimism can be your secret weapon. It’s definitely a secret weapon for me. When trying out for the all-star team in little league baseball, I thought I had as good a shot as anyone. When I applied to graduate school, I knew I would have to convince them to take a risk, but why wouldn’t they? When applying for a highly competitive new job, surely I’d have a shot. Some may have doubted, thought I wouldn’t come out on top in these situations. But I did.
When an opportunity opens up in front of you, do you typically ask, “Why would they choose me?” or “Why would I have the good fortune of going there?” Here is where the right question is essential! Rather than asking “Why” questions like these, ask, “Why not?”
Listen to the difference
“Why would she ever say ‘yes’ to a guy like me?” vs. “Some lucky guy is going to marry this amazing woman; why not me?”
“This promotion is a great opportunity, but why would they offer it to me?” vs. “This promotion is a great opportunity; why wouldn’t I have a shot at it?”
You get the idea. I hope you can hear the polarizing difference in attitude, hopefulness and value we place on ourselves based on the questions we ask.
When we begin asking “Why not?,” we unlock 3 hidden doors to our potentials.
1. Door of Limitless Possibilities
When we ask, “Why not?,” we are removing imaginary barriers we’ve placed on the values we hold. We change the beliefs we hold in our abilities. When we ask, “Why not?,” nothing is off the table or beyond our wildest dreams.
2. Door of Self-Confidence
When we ask, “Why not?,” we ignite a deeper sense of confidence in who we are. The meek and meager ask, “Why me?” But those who ask, “Why not me?” brim with high expectations that they have what it takes to rise to any challenge.
3. Door of Unexpected Outcomes
When we ask, “Why not?,” we open ourselves up to opportunities that lead to unanticipated roles, positions, and relationships. The question allows us to pursue things we previously deemed beyond our reach or even impossible. When we ask, “Why not?,” we never know what joys and successes lie ahead.
Don’t just take it from me. Russell Wilson, Superbowl winning quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, demonstrates what this kind of optimism can do for you at the highest levels of performance. Check out how asking “Why not?” led to victory.
Somewhere, between optimistic and delusional, is a line on which more people ought to walk. It’s daring, courageous and full of wonder. While precarious, I find it adventurous. Over the years, I’ve found that we can find ourselves here, on this imaginary line more often, if we’d just continuously ask the right question.
It may take some guts and a change in mindset, but I invite you to join me. Be daring. Be adventurous. Ask, “Why not?”. Imagine the doors you could unlock as you pursue your potential.
Question: What other benefits might there be to asking, “Why not?” I’m sure other readers would love to hear your ideas on this too.