The word “but” often causes trouble in interpersonal communication. Consider the following statement: “You did a great job, but….”
Of course, you expect to hear something negative next and the part about doing a great job is forgotten. Instead, try this “You did a great job, and if we could just fix this one issue, things will go even smoother next time.” Another alternative would be to replace the first comma with a period and delete the “and.”
The word “but” can also affect your inner communication. An example: “I’d like to start a business, but I don’t have the time.” Self-help guru Tony Robbins refers to this type of statement as a limiting belief as it limits you from achieving your goal.
The One Minute Millionaire describes a “Mrs. Yabut” – a contraction of “Yeah” and “But” which also limits you. The book advises you to stop listening to Mrs. Yabut and eliminate the phrase “yeah, but” from all internal and external dialog.
As an experiment, try going a whole day without using the word “but.” If you let one slip out, correct it immediately. I’ve tried this a few times and I’ve found myself more focused on my goals and less on my limitations.
James Feudo owns the Boston Web Design Agency JVF Solutions and loves blogging about personal development and communication in his spare time.