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Daydreaming the Future
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TAGS: Communication, Intuition, Parenting, Sensing, Teenagers

The “What If?” Game: Daydreaming the Future

Yvonne Nelson-Reid, B.Ed., M.A.
YVONNE NELSON-REID, B.Ed., M.A., is a mother of 5, writer, teacher, depth psychologist, and career coach. As a certified MBTI and MMTIC professional, she uses typology as a tool for helping others understand differences and communicate more effectively.
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Do you ever play the "What if?" game? I am not sure if it is a real game, but it is one I have played way too often! As hard as I try to live in the here and now, to focus on what is in front of me in that moment, within seconds I find my mind wandering to what might be just around the corner, which leads me to what might happen next week, or next year, or 10 years from now.

Honestly, I can easily drive myself insane. The ideas seem to pop up all over the place making connections and creating patterns, some of which feel visionary, while others feel just plain crazy.

My preference for intuition supports this style of generating ideas and absorbing information. I use intuition in my inner world where unconscious ideas flow into consciousness. Information is received with flashes of insight and can appear as if it came from out-of-the blue.


Imagining and long-term visioning are natural and comfortable when intuition is used in this way. As you can see, the "What if?" game is ideal for those with this preference. Three of my children use intuition in the same way. When we get together you can feel the energy rise in the room where it almost feels electric. What is unknown is exciting for us!

Although this is a good fit for us, not all paths lead to goodness, and sometimes our fantasies can take us down scary, dark paths. We can feed off each other. As much as we enjoy exploring endless opportunities, we tend to forget those who do not. Based on experience, my other two children who prefer sensing in their inner world tend to panic when we dive into this game, fearing what lies ahead unless they can connect it to something they have already done.

Taking in information through sensing in the inner world calls for a more methodical process as they funnel everything through their past experiences. While I thrive off what's unknown, people who prefer sensing can find this stressful and experience severe anxiety.

As an example, my husband has a career that often brings in offers from other companies with potential positions in other parts of the country, or even the world. They do not all pan out, of course, but out of the many opportunities, some have, which means we have moved a couple of times.

First, they reach out to him with a position; then comes the offer letter, if he is interested. The time between these two moments, which can sometimes take months, creates the perfect "What if?" environment! In order to consider a family move, I need to look far down the road and imagine all the potentialities. Logically I realize that until we have the details, this might just be a waste of my time and a big stressor to those family members who prefer to wait and  get all the facts before making the decision - or at least enough facts to get started on a realistic path.

For me the comfort lies in considering all the possible directions, even imaginary ones, that a new move could take us. As the kids get older, which presents its own set of problems (as you can imagine), they deal with these situations in their own way.

My "What if?" kids play the game with me, while my "details and facts" kids do not want to talk about it at all. Awareness and sensitivity are considerations I have had to learn over the years, reminding myself that not everyone wants to play the game. Over time I have learned that it is okay to share excitement in all possibilities, but slowing the pace and acknowledging the past is crucial for everyone to feel included in the game.



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