Hypothetical situations are an interesting thing. They’re fun to talk about because they give us an opportunity to pretend, to muse, to imagine the possibilities. Talking about what we would do in a given scenario without actually doing it is freeing in that there are virtually no discernible consequences, except maybe to reveal a little about the person you really are: the person you are when no one’s looking.
I think that’s a pretty significant thing to learn about someone. Perhaps more so when that someone is you, yourself.
It’s not about finding out how someone would react to crazy what ifs…but more so why they would react that way, what reasons they have for the choices they’d make. The choices and the reasons behind them are really where you can see the real person…not the one they present to the world, but the person they are when it’s just them and there’s no one to impress.
Sure, for some people the public and private persona are identical. They are the same person regardless of who’s looking. But for others (and I suspect more would fall into this category), there are those times when we want to put our best foot forward, want the world to see us in the best possible light, want the legacy we leave behind to be unblemished. This is when hypothetical musings help to strip away the façade and reveal the real person underneath.
Obviously asking things like, “What’s the first thing you’d do if you won the lottery?” can reveal a lot about personal desires. But I find these types of questions to be less interesting than the more abstract ones, or maybe the ones that involve a reconciling of a significant personal or moral quandary.
Would you sacrifice the few for the many if the few included the one person you loved most in this world?
Would you rather live an epic life for 20 years and die young in a blaze of glory, celebrated by many…or live a long but utterly ordinary existence, never once having what one might consider an extraordinary experience, to be mourned and remembered by a special few when it all ends?
I guess no matter the answers, the only person who will ever truly see who you are when no one’s looking is you. That’s not a spotlight that can be turned off, however you may sometimes wish to be able to. The only person you can never hide from or lie to, is you.
Who are you when no one’s looking?