I’ve become quite interested in this 3-letter word recently. It seems to have an innate ability to shift conversations and thought processes.
How many times have you heard
That’s a great idea but ……
You’re doing a good job but ….
We’d love to do it but …..
Kind of deflating eh? It’s like the word ‘but’ is designed to take the wind out of our sails, bring up potential problems, introduce negativity, kill an idea.
Instead, in comes and.
That’s a great idea. And perhaps this suggestion could help make it even better.
You’re doing a good job. And, I’d like to support your efforts to become even more successful.
We’d love to do it and I’m hoping we can find a time that works for both of us to make it happen.
I encourage you to listen to yourself for a couple of days and note how often ‘but’ is your first response. For me, this was eye-opening. As I listened to myself, I noted how rapidly and often I pull out the ‘but’ word. And it wasn’t unique to one place or group of people – it seemed to be my default response. As I’ve intentionally started to replace ‘but’ with ‘and’, I’ve seen subtle but distinct shifts in the conversations. It seems that I’ve seen fewer faces fall. There’s more pauses, more reflection. I’m thinking before speaking. Life feels a little more creative, a little more possible.
How can that happen with just 3 letters? Perhaps it is because of what the word does to us. Words have power.
As Oliver Wendell Holmes so eloquently said: Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.