Have you ever noticed that some people start their sentences with but? Regardless if they agree with you or not?
For most of us, our automatic reaction to a question, proposal, or an idea comes out with Yes, but…or No, but… answer.
The word ”but” not only negates whatever was said before, but it also makes people defensive, whether they realize it or not. BUT creates closure and opposition to whatever comes after it; it obscures the possibilities and disregards creativity.
Imagine this, someone tells you: “”Oh, you look great in this dress, BUT….
What happens to your mind when you hear that?
Where does your attention go to? The fact that you look good in that dress, or anticipating what is coming after the BUT?
Or, you are in a meeting at work, and you come up with a proposal; your boss replies: “”That is a great idea, but we don’t have the budget for it.””
How does this one feel? A rejection? The end of an idea?
No matter how friendly the tone is or how many positive mollifying phrases we throw in before or after the but. the message is of closure and disablement of any solution to arise.
The word BUT is a powerful negation, It automatically deletes what preceded it. Psychologically, the mind erases the compliment or the praise and focuses on what is being said after the BUT.
BUT is like a wall separating the positive from the negative.
I guess it is much easier to criticize an idea or find out why it is not going to work, rather than coming up with creative, positive, and encouraging solutions!
However, the word AND instantly brings possibilities; it opens up channels of communication and allows for a creative solution. AND, empowers and feels expansive, it is inclusive and accepting, while BUT disempowers and feels constricted.
Ready to give “AND” a try?
You will be amazed by how much “”But Thinking“” is hard-wired to our system. By learning to use “”And Thinking“” technique yourself and teaching others around you to do the same, you can drastically improve the quality of solutions for the challenges you face in your professional and personal life.
For the next few days, notice your sentences, count how many
“BUT’s” you use every day, every time you say BUT, immediately change
it to AND, and see how it changes the conversation and the meaning of the
dialogue. Switching from “BUT” to “AND” is not easy. It
feels unnatural and odd at first, (
but), and it is certainly worthwhile
in the effectiveness of your communication in the long run.