“Let’s Pretend” Opens Up A Closed End - Grasshopper
One of the best phrases I ever learned was, “Let’s pretend.” Its ability to make us look past what “isn’t possible” is what gives it its power.
Let’s pretend you are stuck. For most of us that doesn’t take too much pretending. Stuck means you are out of seen options. You keep going over the same ones in your mind that you know won’t work and you keep working them to no avail.
Enter “Let’s pretend.” “Let’s pretend” makes our mind less cement-like and more pliable. “Let’s pretend” is not presented as an option - just a different way of thinking about the situation. When we think from a different angle, different ideas come our way. We are so hell bent on ‘tried and true’ that we fail to consider options that have less glue.
“I just can’t afford that right now” is a pretty standard response that we’ve all offered from time to time. It’s a set in stone declaration. Suppose someone said to you, “Let’s pretend you could afford it,” what would that do to your thinking? If you entertained their suggestion of pretending, you would go down a different path rather than going in circles. Reminds me of a story I know I’ve told a few times.
In 1984, I wanted to take my family to Disney World. None of us had ever been and all of us wanted to go. The kids were at the perfect age to appreciate all Disney had to offer. I was convinced I couldn’t afford it. This didn’t come from an exhaustive examination of the facts, just from a stuck idea that it was too expensive. I’m not sure I used the phrase “Let’s pretend” then, but some version of it must have been going around in my mind because I did the unthinkable. I called a travel agency and set up an appointment. Remember: This was well before the Internet.
I found out that the trip would cost no more than the family vacations we had taken to less celebrated spots in the past. It was an adventure we all still talk about today. Had I not poked past what wasn’t possible, I would have one less memoir. I pretended that I could afford it and that got me to take action to find out that I really could. It could have worked out differently if I really couldn’t afford it, but at least I had the satisfaction of not remaining an option-less stick in the mud.
When you find yourself stuck, “Let’s pretend” will be your friend. Pretending opens neural pathways that likely would remain closed had you not given yourself the opportunity to pretend. “I just can’t do that.” “Let’s pretend for a minute that you could.”
Entertain the notion of “Let’s pretend” and see how much more often you can open up a closed end.
All the best,John
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