“I’m really passionate about linguistics” someone said to me recently “and it is really important that people believe in themselves…”
To which I sincerely agree. Then this lovely lady went on to tell me about what she could do and there were 10 ‘buts’ in the conversation. That was 10 reasons why things hadn’t eventuated for her yet.
‘But’ and ‘however’ negates what has been said before it.
“I think you look lovely today but I did love the dress you had on the other day too.”
“I am getting better every day but I am not ready yet.”
“I lost weight last year but I didn’t keep it off.”
“I like to exercise but find it hard to be motivated in winter”
“I feel relaxed but then I think of the stress”
How would you interpret the above sentences? I ask a question to every single one of them.
When coaching people one of the first things I do is ask them to listen to what they say internally and externally. I can pick up very quickly if they are negating themselves or not and this is the first place we start. ‘But’ and its cousin ‘however’ are not words of success and do not belong with people of action; with people who want to achieve everything they want in life. It is the language of people who live with excuses.
So, what to use instead? How does this sound?
“I think you look lovely today and I did love the dress you had on the other day too.”
“I am getting better every day and I should be ready soon.”
I feel relaxed and then I think of the stress.”
‘And’ in the above examples is a great word. Our unconscious mind does not know fact from fiction. It interprets everything we say as being accurate. To keep using ‘but’ or ‘however’ allows opportunity for excuse in the unconscious mind. The word ‘and’ provides ownership and responsibility.
Want to use a ‘but’ and still be a person of ownership and responsibility? You can do that and here is how. Simply use the ‘but’ to negate a negative statement.
“I used to get stressed but now I know how to manage it.”
“I found it hard to be motivated but now I have a good plan.”
So, button up the ‘buts’ or at least use them with mindful intent and notice how different it sounds for you and for those you communicate with.