As small children we have no grasp of reality, no framework for how the world functions. Wonder abounds. Everything is viewed through a prism of awe and intrigue, our minds are vast and wonderfully exotic notions occur to us all the time.
Things like going to the Moon for the afternoon, dogs that can chit-chat with you or toilets that can transport you around the world when you flush them are conceivable to us when we are small. Our imaginations are infinite, malleable and unrestrained by the laws of physics or limited expectations. Sadly, we grow up, and as we grow our imaginations shrink, to the point that we rarely imagine in the same way that we did as kids.
Reverting to a childlike state is, as we know, not really on the cards, but the ability to think and imagine akin to a child every now and then is possible, by playing “What If” with yourself.
It can be fun and beneficial to play “What If” as an exercise in allowing your imagination to run wild and unfettered, sans self-consciousness or worry about being preposterous. Because my friends, the goal of “What If” is preposterousness of the highest order, and the most preposterous of all is the gold standard.
So, whenever you are short on imaginative thinking, revert to your inner 5 year-old child and play “What If”. It may not help with the pressing issues of writing a business plan or fixing your supply chain. But it will put a smile on your face, and it will allow for different cognitive pathways to come to the fore. And these pathways can lead you somewhere that both you and your inner child will be happy with.
What if every three months all of the countries in the world moved 500 miles east?
What if every time it rained everybody developed gills and had to jump in the sea?
What if everything you drew could become real just by saying abracadabra?
What if we could live forever, but only if our memories were wiped every two weeks?
What if every door we passed through removed or added a sense?