To moderate (a quality or condition) in force or intensity; alleviate.

“Last night, while I lay thinking here,
Some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
And pranced and partied all night long
And sang their same old Whatif song:
…Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
…Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!”

–Shel Silverstein, “Whatif” from A Light in the Attic

Have you ever had Whatifs partying on a constant merry-go-round in your brain? Or been really exited about a new dream, only to find yourself going cold as an undefined dread creeps over you? If you pull each Whatif off its carousel horse, out of the shadows, and look at them individually, it becomes much easier to identify exactly what they are. Once you see them clearly, solutions are not so hard to find.

To practice mitigation, you’ll need some risks you’re concerned about. The list from the last post will do nicely.

Isolate 1 item on your list. Working with a single, discrete issue gives you a problem you can solve. Trying to find an answer for a whole cloud of worries rarely works and can be exhausting. To get a solution, you need to be focused and specific.

Bring all your problem-solving abilities to bear on each item, 1 at a time. Brainstorming by yourself or with friends is great. Write down your ideas. You may find that the solutions are really simple.

Many times this is more than enough to melt your worries. If the Whatifs crawl in your ear, you have answers.

I love this technique because it is extremely practical, reframes your fears into something useful, and shows you how powerful your own common sense is.

Please leave a comments if you have any questions or would like examples of concerns and solutions.