Questions, when used properly, are the most creative forces in the universe. Almost all scientific breakthroughs were questions before they were answers and many of them were answers to different questions; ones that occurred in the answers to the first!

There is one question above all that is the most creative of all.
So complex that the greatest of the psychological community have failed to understand where it really comes from, so simple that children as young as three routinely ask it.


So complex that the greatest of the psychological community have failed to understand where it really comes from, so simple that children as young as three routinely ask it.

One of the problems with the current political climate is that asking questions is frowned upon. Think that’s Orwellian fiction? Try asking a room if the gender pay gap data is possibly misrepresented by a media insatiable for disruptive anger. Try asking on Twitter if its possible that Corbyn might be right to stay silent about Brexit. Try asking if it’s OK to laugh at Louis CK. Whether you take one side of each of those debates or the other, the assumption is that you should have just picked a side. WHY are you even asking? It’s OBVIOUS that I’m right.

Louis CK looking less chipper than usual. Is it OK to ask?

It’s true that questions can sometimes be destructive. When they’re asked as rhetoric to make a point, like in the old Lenny Henry joke where the wife asks the husband “oh, so you’re going to wear that shirt?”. SHE MEANS GET RID OF THE SHIRT! SHE HATES THE SHIRT! BURN THE BLOODY SHIRT!

There was a famous director, perhaps the most influential of all time, who asked this question and changed the process of acting forever. Konstantin Stanislavski wasn’t the first person to ask it by any means but his, I think, is the finest articulation of it. He called it the “Magic If”.
The Magic If is simply asking “What if..?”

Konstantin Stanislavski – author, director and creator of “The System” of acting

The Magic If is simply asking “What if..?”

When you ask “What If” you activate your imagination, engages your abstract thought. Its the basis of the distinctly human consciousness that allows us to empathise, ponder our own deaths, fantasise and create stories. What if the rains don’t come? We’ll gather water from the river. What if I lose my job? I could set up a business. What if this character had no parents growing up? It would effect their behaviour now in several key ways. What if there was a spy who was also an alcoholic womaniser? What if the world were to be under threat and all we had to protect us was Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson? What if? What if? What if?

If you’re ever stuck in the development of your character, your story, your brand, ask some what if questions. If there are no answers then ask a different one. You are NEVER limited to a certain number.


If you’re ever stuck in the development of your character, your story, your brand, ask some what if questions. If there are no answers then ask a different one. You are NEVER limited to a certain number. If you’re struggling to think of any then STOP TRYING. Children are often seen to be more imaginative than adults and they’re asking What If questions all the time. What if I were my favourite superhero? What if I try to stick this fork in this plug socket? What if I eat my own bogies? Adults aren’t LESS imaginative than children, they just block more. Adults constantly police themselves, seeing questions like an imaginative What If as though they are as bad as asking if it’s OK to watch an old Kevin Spacey film or not. In either circumstance: relax, it’s ALWAYS OK to ask…

It’s ALWAYS OK to ask.

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