Thought Experiments

I like thought experiments, both philosophically and in fiction. It can be fun to ask what if? and then follow that thinking to see what might happen next. It’s useful in the kind of work I do too, thinking through how a session might run or how a new webinar might help someone. It can identify issues that need addressing in advance – or eliminate headaches before they happen!


Thought experiments allow us to get ahead of problems sometimes, but they can also be a distraction. A lot of what if questions about the viva are completely understandable but can also be very distracting:

  • What if my internal asks about something I didn’t do?
  • What if my external asks about something I can’t remember?
  • What if someone disagrees?
  • What if I lose my train of thought?
  • What if I feel nervous?

I have specific advice for each of these, but the general response to all of them is: “Then you would pause, think and ultimately respond to the situation in the moment in whatever way seems best.”

Because that’s all you can do.

You can prepare, you can practise and you can ask yourself what if – in the end you have to stop worrying and wondering about thought experiments.

Remember who you are, what you did, what you can do and what you bring to the viva.