Move your "but" for success

When people I meet for the first time find out find out what I do for a living I feel lucky that a lot of them find it interesting and want to know more.

I also don’t mind them taking me to one side and asking me questions about their lives and issues.

It’s at that point I’m grateful I’m not a GP or Dentist and asked to take a look at some ailment I don’t want to see!

Quite often the questions will start with the word “why”.

Such as “Why can’t I lose weight” or “Why can’t I stick to going to the gym?”

My first question in return is always “Do you want to…….”

This is usually met with a scoffing “Of course!”

I then ask what the secret second part of the sentence “I want to lose weight” or “I want to go to the gym” is.


Move your "but" for success - Mark Darlington


I usually get a puzzled look at this point.

I explain that when we think we want to do something and subsequently don’t, it’s usually because there is an unspoken second part to that sentence starting with the word “but”.

For example “I want to lose weight but I like cream cakes” or “I want to go to the gym but I don’t like going out in the rain”.

These secret second parts of the sentence are what rule our actions, even when we don’t consciously know that they are there.

When we move our “but” or more accurately shift the sentence around; it can have a dramatic effect on our actions.

So, changing the sentences to

“I like cream cakes but I want to lose weight” and “I don’t like going out in the rain but I want to go to the gym” has a huge effect on the outcome.

The emphasis is now on the positive action and our minds automatically look for ways to achieve it.

Try it now.

What are you struggling to achieve or consistently do?

What is the secret second part of the sentence, straight after the word but?

Switch the sentence around so that the positive action is after the “but”.

How can you now find ways to just do it?

Have fun experimenting and achieving more this week.

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