Once you start looking for big buts it’s hard to miss them. They are absolutely everywhere. I can’t help but notice that the biggest buts belong to the people who achieve the least. It seems such a shame that one big but is all it takes to put a person on the path to no place in particular.
Don’t believe me, take a look at these;
- I’d like to go on a holiday, BUT I can’t afford it
- I’d like to do well at school BUT I just can’t seem to focus
- I’d like to get promoted BUT I don’t think that my boss likes me
- I’d like to go to the party BUT I’ve got nothing to wear
- I’d like to end my relationship BUT it would hurt my partner
- I’d like to run a marathon BUT I’m too unfit
- I’d like to spend more time with the kids BUT I’m just too busy
- I’d like my staff to be more productive BUT they don’t seem to be capable
I’m sure that you’ve all heard something like this before. I’m equally certain that you’ve all uttered a sentence like this before, I know I have. The first part of the sentence pinpoints what you want and the second half, “the BUT”, with equal clarity tells you why you can’t have it.
It’s rational, even sensible in some cases, but in most it really just acts as a handbrake, it stops us from getting where we want to go. Look what happens when we change those statements above to;
- I’d like to go on a holiday, AND I can’t afford it
- I’d like to do well at school AND I just can’t seem to focus
- I’d like to get promoted AND I don’t think that my boss likes me
- I’d like to go to the party AND I’ve got nothing to wear
- I’d like to end my relationship AND it would hurt my partner
- I’d like to run a marathon AND I’m too unfit
- I’d like to spend more time with the kids AND I’m just too busy
- I’d like my staff to be more productive AND they don’t seem to be capable
Now we have the first part of the sentence that pinpoints what you want and the second part of the sentence that presents the barrier in the way of you getting what you want. It’s not an excuse anymore, it’s just a fact. It’s a problem to overcome. Overcoming that problem will depend largely on one thing, and that is this. Do you really want what you say you want? Is the first part of the sentence what you really yearn for? When you had an excuse, it was easy to say that you wanted something, because you had an immediate out.
So, as simple as this may sound, the first step to achieving meaningful outcomes is to look at the first part of the sentence, the thing that you say you want. Ask yourself what doing these things would do for you. What difference would they make to your life, your happiness, your success or your health? Are the things that we say we want, the things that we really want?
If they truly are your heart’s desire, you don’t have a reason not to succeed anymore. I am not going to tell you that suddenly everything will become easier, though it might, but I can tell you that once you are truly committed to an outcome, barriers become just that, barriers. They may be testing to overcome, your outcome may not be quite as you’d imagined, but you will achieve an outcome that you had previously decided was not even possible.
Try this for yourself. Listen to what you say, both out-loud and in your head or your mutterings. Listen to how other people limit themselves with their BUTs.
If you decide that the things that you have said that you want, are indeed not things that you really want, then you can let them go. They have been occupying space in your head that would better be used to achieve the things that you really do want.