Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. – Henry Ford

What Henry Ford said is nothing else than that we can achieve success in anything, if we just want to. It is our subconscious mind that influences our thoughts and behaviour. And if we control it the right way it can help us to do anything we want and are capable of.

Let me tell you a short story about my daughter.

Last year in late spring we moved to a new house, and as many houses in Cyprus it has a private swimming pool. Now it isn’t one of those pools where you can dip a toe or two inside, but more of a decent size that a group of adults can easily swim and dive in together.

However, this post is not about our pool, but more about my worries that our daughter couldn’t swim at that time. Although she managed to do perfectly with her armbands on, she had never tried without.

So on the first day being in the new house we jumped into the pool and after a while I asked her if she wants to take her armbands off.

Her first question was:

What if I will drown?”

Although I knew that she would have managed, I didn’t want to force her, so I let her continue swimming using armbands. Later we talked about it and I reassured her that she’s able to swim without any help, if she just feels ready for it. I explained that only her worries were holding her back to achieve success earlier in the afternoon.


The next day I asked if she wants to try without armbands and she agreed. While I walked next to her in the water she managed to swim perfectly almost crosswise through the pool. Since that day armbands are a thing from the past, floating tyres are only used for fun, and meanwhile she swims lengthwise through the pool a couple of times in a row and even picks up things from the ground in 3 m depth.

Sure I was proud and excited of her achievement. And what did not excite me less was her answer to my question how she managed it.

“Because I knew I can do it, Papa!”

Because I knew I can

How Can This Help You To Achieve Success?

You might ask yourself now how my daughter’s experience can help you to achieve success.

Remember her question “What if…“?

How often did you ask yourself this type of questions in different situations?

  • “What if people don’t like what I write or say?”
  • “What if I run out of ideas?”
  • “What if people don’t like my appearance?”
  • “What if people don’t like my voice?”
  • and the list can go on endlessly…

These are the typical questions I hear from my coaching and consulting clients almost every time and probably they sound familiar to you.

With asking yourself these “What if…?” questions, you try to solve problems that didn’t even occur yet and that might probably never happen.

Although people think that having an answer for their “What if…?” questions will ensure a better preparation in case these problems will come up, in fact they don’t. Steven J. Seay, a licensed psychologist in Florida, says answering them is like trying to fill a colander with water.

I like to compare it with trying to nail a flan against the wall.

Answering 'What if...' questions is like trying to nail a flan against the wall. Click To Tweet


How These Questions Hold You Back

Wasting time

You spend a lot of time trying to answer these “What if…?” questions. While you are doing so, you waste your time for thoughts on most likely irrelevant questions rather than take action and work to achieve success.

Multiplying Engagement

What makes “What if…?” questions so annoying is that once you found an answer, the next “What if…?” questions will pop up in your head immediately, asking to be resolved.

Feeling Helpless

“What if…” questions go along with “I can’t”, as you don’t learn to trust yourself and your own capabilities. Rather than starting to gain trust in what you are capable of when taking action, you will continue to feel helpless.


What To Do Against This Type Of Questions?

To achieve success the best would be to prevent this type of questions to cross your mind immediately. But this is easier said than done. Steven J. Seay suggest to acknowledge them but to resist finding answers to these hindering questions.

Instead you will need to work on accepting that you solve these problems when and if they really arise.

I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. Click To Tweet


On his page Steven J. Seay offers a short script that you can adopt to develop your own. This script could help you to accept that you ask yourself “What if…?” questions and to learn how to cope with them.

Start today telling yourself that “you can”, rather than having these questions suggesting “you can’t”.


Your Turn

Do you ask yourself “What if…?” questions? If yes, how do you cope with them? If no, do you have any suggestions for people who do? Let us know in the comment section below.

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