Sunday, November 16, 2014

No Buts - just a thought

"I slept like a baby, woke up ready to conquer the world, enjoyed my power breakfast and dressed in my best suit for the day, with everything set for a great productive and victorious day, but the traffic law breaking taxi driver spoiled everything and I ended up in the hospital.

"I had a horrible night punctuated by nightmares tossing and turning all night and in streaks of sweat. I woke up grumpy, tired and barely had breakfast. When I finally jumped out of the house the car would not start and so I was late for work, but that show on radio changed everything and I ended up having an awesome day."

Two totally contrasting statements talking about how a day can end up between two different people, good or bad. This is a typical day that the best of us goes through in a lifetime. I am not dwelling on that, to the contrary, the use of the word 'but' is my key point. In the two statements above, everything changes after 'but' and hence there is need to breathe before the tide turns. Hence some will give weight to it by breathing out the but, sing it and drag it out as if it is a long word, yet it is only 3 letters. It is a word that we take for granted when we speak. We use it everyday whether to avoid unwanted appointments (I would have come, but....), or to give and excuse (I wanted to finish the report today, but....), reveal misunderstanding (..., but I thought you said I should....), to kill a dream (..., but I am not good enough), or justify wrong doing (I would not have hit him, but....). How many buts do you give in a day and are they all supposed to be there? When someone uses a but, it is an argument or objection against something. It is a word that contrasts with what has already been said, and so basically when someone says but, you can almost know what follows. When you return from an interview and they call you back with feedback and say something like "you were great and you have solid experience which aligns with what we are looking for, but...." then you know you probably did not get the job. Interesting word is it not? It is almost a pre-emptive word for the person it is directed to. You may as well put the phone down after you hear 'but' right? Wrong, because it goes both ways in fact and can be pre-emptive in both a positive and negative way. The same person who says the above could say "we felt that you were weak in one or two areas and you need more experience and training within this area, but...." now that is a but you want to listen to because it can be a negative to a positive. I mostly love the use of buts when I listen to inspirational stories. He grew up without parents but.....or she lost her sight but....or she lost everything but.... If I was to give my own experience I would say I failed my driving test twice, but I had to press on and break the block of fear until I succeeded. The buts we can eliminate are those that stop us from doing what we set out to achieve. Those buts where we blame our past/history, upbringing or other people for failing to pursue what we want and need to. What buts have you spoken to justify not pursuing a dream lately? Are you aware when you say but. If there was a "no buts challenge" would it be something you can sign up for and possibly win?  Just a thought.