What’s the best that could happen?

March 16, 2011

You’ve heard “What’s the worst that could happen?” It’s a valuable question, encouraging the asker and responder to demystify and evaluate the risks involved with making a certain decision. The converse, “What’s the best that could happen?” has value, too.

“What’s the best that could happen?” might alert you to the fact that a risk is not worth taking; the best potential outcome isn’t worth the potential costs and the effort to change course. But so much of what we do and ask is critical. We’re wired to think critically and act safely. We shut down flights of fancy often before they get above the tree line. We stick to what’s known and proven: our familiar, safe paths.

Consider the question—“What’s the best that could happen?”—in a more positive, optimistic light. How might the outcome of a specific decision be better than expected? Let scenarios play out. There will be plenty of time later for wariness and skepticism.

As you’re planning your day, listening in meetings, or working with colleagues, ask, “What’s the best that could happen?” It might just change the way you look at the world.

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