IF is a tiny word with great communication power…
When IF is used properly to improve communication effectiveness!
But IF is not always the best word to use, however, we use it a lot.
For some people, IF is a sloppy habit like saying “yu know?” or “umm.”
To make your point, IF can be the wrong word to include.
Making your point demands certainty about what your point is. There’s no IFs about that. There may be the positivity of a “when” involved, but there’s no room for IFs. “If we can…” has no power, but “When we can…” is powerful commitment.
And yet, when you use IF with deliberate intent to reveal the choices involved in your point, it is the only word to use.
In 1895, British Nobel-Prize-Winning writer Rudyard Kipling wrote the astonishing and thought-provoking poem, If. There’s no better example of how powerful IF can be in the right context WHEN you think…
by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men [sic] doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
(Visionary Readability: The Google-AI response to this poem is “The text contains 3 instances where 3 or more consecutive sentences start with the same word [If}. Try to mix things up!”)
Here’s an example of how to fit thoughts from long ago, like the poem If, into today’s first-time-in-history, high-pressure goings-on to make your point: