The One Word That Is Holding You Back

Do you remember this scene of The 300? Watch closely: There is no hesitation, and there is no undo, take back, or retreat. This is what comes to mind when thinking about life and choices.


If you look closely at my blog, or any e-mail or IM you might have received from me, you will find one of my best secrets – Actually, you won’t find it because the secret is what remains unsaid. I relax my standard a bit on the blog, so you’re bound to find some slips – Still…

The secret is to never, ever, ever use to word “but“... Not in conversations, not in e-mails and not in instant messages.

What the heck could this possibly do? You wouldn’t believe it. I actually shared this little tip with two friends who run different companies about three years ago. Last year I asked them about it. They both remembered distinctly the idea -because they had tried it with surprising results. They both pretty much reported the same thing – Everything – meetings, conferences, etc – started going much, much smoother. People around them would be more positive and things would get done better. They both pretty much independently said it was like fucking Voodoo.

Why “but“? Because it is the “undo” of language, it is worse than hesitation – its an outright “cancel what I just said“. There are many other ways to “undo“, by using commas for example – yet none is so flagrant as “but“. The easiest way to replace “But” is to use “and“, a comma, or like I did above using “yet”. If you can’t say it without “but” or no good alternative presents itself – then you need to think about whatever it is in a different way and say something entirely different – pure and simple.

Try it, it costs $0, results are immediate and pretty fucking unbelievable.