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"You'll never get anywhere if you go about what-iffing like that"

Updated: Aug 28, 2022

Like many of us, I grew up immersed in the many wondrous, magical lands created by Roald Dahl. In fact, even as an adult, I occasionally pick up my old favourites and enjoy an hour of pure delight reading one. Each time, I learn something new and there are so many wonderful messages to teach not just children but adults too.

One of my most favourite lines from one of his books is this:

“Bunkum and tummyrot! You'll never get anywhere if you go about what-iffing like that. Would Columbus have discovered America if he'd said 'What if I sink on the way over? What if I meet pirates? What if I never come back?' He wouldn't even have started.”

Spoken by Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.

“You’ll never get anywhere if you go about what-iffing like that”. Quite a powerful message if you allow yourself a moment to think about it.

And one that has been with me for a few years. I read it a few years back and found the quote, the exact picture here above, and saved it to my phone to look at regularly. For I had so much I wanted to do, but I was a master procrastinator and, quite simply, a magnificent ‘what-iffer’. My mind always went to the worst possible outcome when I thought about my own dreams and goals. The what-if was always ‘what if it all goes wrong?’ ‘what if I fail and look stupid?’ ‘what if everyone laughs at me’, and on and on…we all have experienced this at some point in our lives.

This particular piece really got to me – ‘he wouldn’t have even started’. I was in exactly that space, stuck, afraid to try, only the bad ‘what-ifs’ floating in my head stopping form ever even trying.

So I made a conscious decision to start to notice my thoughts when it came to thinking about my future, my goals and dreams. And when a mean old negative ‘what-if’ popped up, I would consciously change it to a joyful, positive ‘what if’. In keeping with Roald Dahl, I rather like to visualise it like a whizzpopper moment from the BFG, the negative ‘what-if’ just whizzing on out of my head, making way for the nicer one.

I began to say to myself ‘what if it all works out?’, ‘what if it makes me completely fulfilled and happy’, ‘what if I get everything I ever wanted…?’ and quite quickly I found I could connect much more easily to my dreams and goals and take steps towards making them a reality.

So if you have read this far, I invite you to notice your ‘what-if’ moments…if they are not encouraging or empowering you, then picture them whizzing away, making space for only the awesome ones that will lift you up and steer you right. And just think…’what if it all works out…’ because, whatever your desires, it can and will happen for you 😊

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