Startups, learning, life and happiness by Paul Brown

What if?

We are hard-wired to be constantly asking ‘what if?’.. It is part of our ancestry, we are made to be hesitant, cautious and to think through every step, but do you ever act on a 'what if’ moment?

Thousands of years ago a 'what if’ moment may have been along the lines of deciding whether to go out and collect some berries now, or whether to stay inside until it is dark. Thinking through this moment may have saved your ass from getting eaten alive by a T-Rex, in that scenario been cautious and thinking through the possible outcomes would probably have been a good idea.

In fact to go one step further, when you think about it, it is this cautiousness which led to a lot of our greatest achievements and evolutions. It was this fear of the unknown, this uncertainty that led us to develop the tools and weapons we needed to defend ourselves, and to safely get out there and achieve what we needed to achieve. You could argue that without the element of fear then mankind would not have been driven to develop and outsmart predators.

I think nowadays it is still the people that choose to take the calculated risk, take the plunge, to go out into the unknown and tread where few do - are the ones who succeed and bring home the berries.

We must chose to harness our innate sense of caution, we must evolve - just a little bit and pursue the 'what ifs’ we are afraid of and that we find exciting..

What if next week you quit your job? What if today you went on that trip? What if you took that first step towards achieving your dream. What if you did something differently?..

.. Sound exciting, maybe a little scary? I believe we are naturally beginning to be more drawn to the 'what ifs’ more than ever before. We go thrill seeking, dream of escaping routine, learning something new, experiencing something a bit 'different’ to the ground-hog day we can occasionally get lost/trapped in. Let’s chose to live life, lets learn new things, lets learn that the unknown is fun, lets explore new things and evolve in the same way our ancestors did.

Just like your ancestors prepared the tools they needed to go out and get something, that is what we must do. Start making the things we need, gather the tools required, get prepared and then stop thinking and go for it. We must harness the fear of the unknown and use it to drive us to achieve what we need to achieve.

Use the fear to overcome it, remember the only things we know for certain is uncertainty itself.. In fact, lets chase uncertainty, lets run after it and break its door down, lets find it, love it, lets crave for the 'what if’ moments and act upon them.

After all ultimately what’s the worst that can go wrong if we act on a 'what if’ moment - really?? I can guarantee that it is not going to be as bad as getting eaten alive by a T-Rex.. So prepare yourself, gather your tools, wait until it is dark, (but don’t wait too long), leave the cave - and go get your berries!