What Else Could Be True?

A Simple Fix for Counterproductive Thinking

graphic of colorful question marksEver find yourself plagued by thoughts that run counter to your goal? A timely example for many right now is if you’re trying to find a job while also thinking: There are no good jobs out there in this economy. Whether true or not, thinking that thought makes it hard to take action. Like a virus that slows down your computer, doubts that lurk in your mind make your performance sluggish, too.

Fortunately, there is something you can do about it. When what you’re thinking and feeling about a situation are in conflict with your desired outcome, stop and ask: What else could be true?

It’s Another Way To Look At It

Richard wanted to clear the air with his wife regarding a long-standing difference of opinion that was impacting their relationship. These conversations tended to be a rehashing of the same issues and always ended at an impasse. As he contemplated their next talk, Richard dreaded the same old predictable outcome and realized that his own expectation was likely contributing to this Groundhog Day effect.

He asked himself, “What else could be true?” and wrote down these words: It is possible that we are both ready for a new kind of conversation. Instead of showing up ready for more of the same, he found himself conversing in a different way and interestingly, so did his wife. The conversation took on a much more positive tone and while they still have issues to resolve, progress is being made.

When interviewing for a leadership role in her organization, Karina was preoccupied with whether she was truly a leader, and this put a dent in her confidence. Here is what opened up for her when she posed the question, “What else could be true?” and kept repeating “what else” after each answer.

I can be a leader if I want to be.
I need others to see me as a leader before I can believe it myself.
I need to believe it myself before others will see me as a leader.
Others have already demonstrated their faith in my leadership abilities.
Sometimes I lead and sometimes I follow.
The best leaders are also good followers.
I can be a leader with my own personality.

It was her last answer that was most significant for Karina.

Asking, “What else could be true?” gives you another way of looking at things and helps you see what else might be possible. You don’t need to concern yourself with proving what is absolutely true or realistic. What you are doing is conditioning yourself to think more creatively, change your expectation, and be more effective with the actions you take.

Get Your Thinking and Doing on the Same Page

This Week’s Call to Action — Make this question one of your go-to problem-solving tools.

  1. Notice — When your attempts at goals are half-hearted or not producing the results you want, examine how you are thinking about the situation. What fear or false assumption could be masquerading as fact?

  2. Ask — What else could be true? What’s another way of looking at it? What else might be possible?

  3. Act — What kind of action does your new perspective inspire?

Don’t let your thoughts undermine your actions. Get your thinking and doing on the same page.

Here's to you,
Ginny Kravitz's signature

© 2011, Virginia M. Kravitz and In the Current®. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to reproduce this article provided it is without any alteration, includes the copyright above, and if distributing electronically includes a link to www.inthecurrent.com.

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