Asking “What if…” Can Change Your Life

When is the last time you stopped to write out radically brainstormed possible endings to “What if I did this..”

I’ve recently come across another blog author whose posts I thoroughly enjoy, Jeff McClung.  He is a quality writer.  Jeff wrote a challenging post about hearing the “What if…” challenge at a conference session and how it changed the life of his family.  I wanted to share with you some excerpts from Jeff’s post as well as a youtube clip of the conference session by Donald Miller which inspired him. (See footnotes at end of post for links.)

Inspiration for the “What if” Challenge

Jeff was inspired by a conference session with Donald Miller in which he said that screen writers or novelists use this method when they get stuck in their writing.  They begin asking random questions of “What if…” this happened to this or that character. Miller says the same process works to make progress in life and asks people to take the following “What if…” challenge. 

Have the family brainstorm about 25 “What if” questions and write them on a whiteboard or notebook.  There are no right or wrong answers, but some of the questions will still be in the forefront of your mind days later.  These “What if…” questions are the life changers.

Miller did this challenge with the readers on his blog and people began dreaming, began expressing new goals, their desires to overcome hurts or destructive habits.  Miller says,

Some of the questions you will realize you have to live.   You will not be able to not do it, bcause you will realize there is a beautiful story waiting for you that you didn’t know you could live.  And if you choose not to live a beautiful story, it is the same as choosing to die. (1)

 Here are some sample questions from Jeff McClung’s blog to get you started.

What if I do whatever it takes to kick that bad habit so that it’s a distant memory by 2012?

What if I wrote down one thing that I was thankful for every day this year and kept that list as a reminder for the dark days of 2011?

What if I did something to make at least one person smile every day this year?

What if I planned a surprise party for someone?

What if I were more intentional about creating memories with my wife and kids?

What if we become relentless about getting out of debt?

What if we galvanized our family, friends, and/or church to do something more about the homeless living in our city? (2)

I urge you to take the “What if…” challenge and use this innovative idea of to see which questions stay in your mind, change your life, and  help you achieve “living a beautiful story” with your life. 


  1. Donald Miller’s youtube video clip from his conference session.
  2. Sample “What if…” questions are excerpts from Jeff McClung’s blog post, “How to Make the Most of the New Year.” 
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2 Responses to “Asking “What if…” Can Change Your Life”

  1. Jeff Says:

    Thank you so much for the kind words about the post (you just made my week). I’m glad it was helpful.

  2. R.H. Says:

    Glad to be able to pass on some of your insights, Jeff! Alisa Linn,

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