The Two Best (and Worst) Magic Words

The two most powerful magic words I know aren’t open sesame, presto chango, or even por favor. They’re two words that have the power to open your heart and mind to limitless possibilities and innovations: what if.

Just like Ali Baba used open sesame to reveal treasure by opening what had appeared to be solid rock, what if has the power to crack open seemingly impassable (or impossible) obstacles, revealing the treasure within them.

And just like magicians might say presto chango to change one thing into another, what if can transform a roadblock into an opportunity.

For instance, if you encounter a roadblock in your business, you can approach it in several ways: You could try to power your way through it, like drilling through solid rock. You could simply throw your hands up in defeat and give up altogether. Or you could say what if… 

  • “What if there were another way of looking at this?”
  • “What if I could connect with someone who could help me move beyond this?”
  • “What if this challenge turns out to be a blessing in disguise?”
  • “What if this ‘obstacle’ is actually keeping me safe or pointing the way toward a better solution?”

The same holds true for creative blocks, personal challenges, or almost any difficulty you might face. Instead of saying, “I don’t know what to do.” You could ask yourself, “What if I did know the answer?” or “What if I tried a different approach?”

You can also use these words to ease your way into far-fetched affirmations. For instance, if positive affirmations such as “I am a powerful creator of unlimited abundance” or “I feel absolutely amazing in every way” feel too pie-in-the-sky for you (in other words, you feel like you’re lying to yourself when you say them), you could rephrase them starting with what if: “What if I could create more abundance in my life?” or “What if I could start to feel even a little bit better today?”

And when it comes to writing, nothing’s more powerful than these words (often called “The Magic What-If”), which form the beginning of almost every great premise:

  • What if a girl from Kansas were transported to a magical land?
  • What if a prince and a pauper switched places?
  • What if teenagers from feuding families fell in love?

You’d be amazed at what wisdom you reveal within yourself when you simply open to the possibilities these two seemingly simple words can point you toward. However, like so many other magic words, when misused, what if has the power to cause immense suffering. When you look back at your life and think “What if…” about missed opportunities, these words can fill you with unbearable regret:

  • “What if I’d pursued my big dream instead of playing it safe?”
  • “What if I’d jumped at that opportunity while I had the chance?”
  • “What if I’d dared to reach beyond my comfort zone?”
  • “What if I’d answered my true calling?”
  • “What if I’d said yes?”

Used in this context, the magic of what if turns into the heartbreak of if only.

Even in these moments of regret-filled reflections, however, you can pivot these magic words to help you open to wondrous possibilities. For instance, you could ask yourself:

  • “What if there’s still time to pursue that dream?”
  • “What if it’s all working out in divine timing?”
  • “What if that window of opportunity hasn’t fully closed yet?”
  • “What if that window of opportunity did close…but another better one is now open?”
  • “What if those years weren’t ‘wasted’ after all, but were the perfect amount of time I needed to gain wisdom, experience, and the desire to move forward?”

No matter what your dreams may be, what obstacles you may face, or what regrets you may feel, these two little words — what if — can help you bring more magic into your life. You might not fully believe it, but what if you did?

P.S. If one of your dreams is to write a book that inspires — but you’ve felt overwhelmed by all the challenges involved — Your Soulful Book can help you avoid regret (of looking back, years from now, thinking, “What if I HAD written that book?”) and embrace positive possibilities (“What if I DO write my book this year?”)!

This heart-centered program (created by me and my wife, Jodi Chapman) provides all the tools, resources, and community/one-on-one support you need to successfully write, publish, and market your book.

To learn all about this program and take the next step toward your dream of holding your very own book — and sharing it with the world — please visit