We've been hearing all the "what if" questions related to John and Elizabeth Edwards's decision to stay on the campaign trail even though Elizabeth's cancer has returned.
- What if it gets worse?
- What if you are going to die?
- What if you live and John becomes president and then you get worse?
- What if you don't feel well?
And on and on. They will reassess as each new bit of information reveals itself regarding her health, but in the mean time they are going for it. The Edwards are facing a tough situation. Lots of "what ifs".
We "what if" ourselves and others about a lot of things. I have been getting a lot of "what if" questions related to my motorcycle book tour.
- What if you run into bad weather?
- What if you break down?
- What if you get sick?
- What if you are in pain from riding every day?
- What if a car hits you?
- What if your stuff is stolen?
- What if your bike is stolen?
- What if you get lost?
And then the derivative what if questions:
- Aren't you afraid?
- Should you be doing this all alone?
Sure, I need to plan well and take precautions. I need to wear Kevlar pants and a fully padded jacket. I need to have a list of all the Honda Motorcycle dealers along my route. I need to have good maps and my roadside assistance card. I need to get in shape to handle the physical demands of riding every day. I need to get proper sleep and eat well....
If I thought too much about all these "what if" questions, I might be tempted not to go. Instead, I prefer to focus on another set of "what ifs":
- What if I am able to catalyze breakthroughs and help people zoom forward?
- What if this becomes a trip of a lifetime?
- What if I see amazing places and meet amazing people?
- What if the minor setbacks turn into challenges and adventures?
- What if I am able to enjoy the solitude on the road?
- What if my talks make a difference in other people's lives?
- What if Hazel runs perfectly?
- What if I learn something?
I can't jump into their heads, but I think the Edwards are thinking about a different set of "what if" questions too, first and foremost being: What if John can win the presidency?
Which type of "what if" questions are you asking yourself and your friends? Are they the questions that invite action and exploration or the questions that second guess yourself?
We need to be prudent and plan well. And then we have the opportunity to go for it.
What if you did?