"An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea."
One of the most beautiful things that I found so intriguing and fascinating about the arts is that it is a place that encourages the question: What if? What if the world looked like this? What if we pushed societal boundaries? What if we can envision a better world? What if we put a mirror up to society? Art is a place that allows people to challenge the status quo and inquire. A place to see and feel. Here is a place we can think, imagine, and create a world different from the one we are living in. But, how can we continue to grow if people stop asking what if? What will happen if we stop exchanging ideas and just "sleepwalk" through life? Okay but, what if someone has a great thought for improving the lives of others, how can we live in a better world if people keep their "million-dollar idea" to themselves?
These conversations aren't specific to the arts but, that is one of the many places I find and have these conversations. They can happen in just normal conversations like book club, interviews, workplace projects, or even the breakroom. What is truly beautiful is that these conversations can bring about a new way of doing things, it can bring hope. At times, I personally thought, "Wow, this idea is amazing. I need to shelter it and make sure that no one else steals it". I sat there thinking, "I own this idea and only I can have that thought. No one else. If someone else has that idea, they must've stolen it." What if what I am afraid of is that they had a similar idea but, they did it better than mine?
That is where I want to start changing the narrative, at least for myself. Ideas shouldn't be solely about the person because an idea typically becomes a team's effort. Someone once told me, "An idea spoken out loud is a gift to another person and the world." It is a gift because you are allowing them to hear it and possibly use it but, once they change one thing to it, that idea becomes theirs. The change they made may have improved the original concept, which is amazing. Now, we have something even better than before. There should be excitement around the fact that this will be even better than before and I helped get us there. But, what if my idea is really great? I must save it so I can create it and make money from it.
Sure, I can sit here and wait for the best moment in time to make my idea become a reality but, what if I never get around to it? What if I don't have the resources to implement this idea right now but, I know it could change lives?
So, here are some "what if" questions I've been thinking about.
WHAT IF we spent money in ways that aligned with our values?
WHAT IF we decided to show up for hard conversations?
My life isn't as exciting or as fulfilling as I imagined. WHAT IF it looked different?
WHAT IF Donald Trump gets re-elected? How can we still build a better world and a better tomorrow?
WHAT IF entertainment doesn't come back for months, even years? How can we cope and innovate?
WHAT IF we can't be together in person like we used to? How can we create a world that is fulfilling in connection that allows us to physically be together? Can we start that world now and what would it look like?
What if. That is where I am going to start. That simple inquisitive question can lead to a conversation that can lead to a bigger conversation. Then, this big idea for a better tomorrow can be implemented. This better tomorrow can create a positive impact for myself and/or others.
So, "What if....?"
*A Fantastic "What if..?" Partner, Grace Perrotta.
NYC, Feb 2020.