So What? Think about that short pithy quesiton. It’s an interrogative pronoun and an adjective. What a punch those two words carry. So what asks to push through the doubt, to ignore the naysayers and to not give into your own inner critic. So what is asking, what is the worst that could happen? Most people catastrophize everything and So What helps calm the imagination and focus on realistic consequences.
I’m beginning to think So What is much like the famous 5 Whys exercise used in Kaizen and Six Sigma. You ask ‘Why’ 5 times and you usually get to the root cause of a process problem. If I ask myself “So What” five times, I usually am able to push through the initial resistance I have to doing something. When I give myself excuses not to do something and then ask So What if that happens, I am able to overcome my resistance.
Here’s an example of self-talk using So What.
Me: I don’t want to apply for that job.
My Inner Voice: Why?
Me: Because I might get rejected.
My Inner Voice: So what? Are you going to die? Are people going to point and say look at that loser?
Me: No, but I’d fail.
My Inner Voice: So what? At least people know you are interested in something new.
My Inner Voice: So what? Apply.
I encourage you to adopt a So What attitude. Do not succumb to your own doubt. Ask yourself those two words and see what doors open for you.