Here is a little distinction I learned recently at a group event. I found the effect rather profound, and I hope you will too!
It has to do with the problems in life, and how we face them.
The idea starts with the typical sentence a lot of us routinely use when considering a problem. The structure of that sentence goes something like this:
“I would like to X, but Y.”
In this formulation, “X” stands for the thing we would like to do, accomplish, become, etc. The “Y” stands for the difficulty we are having, or the thing that appears to be blocking us from achieving X.
In the way this distinction was delivered to me, it was suggested that there was a lie in the formulation above. The lie hiding in there is that X has anything to do with Y. That, being put together with “but”, they were somehow connected in reality. Y and X become inextricably intertwined.
While we were being offered this distinction, we were asked to come up with our own problem to consider.
It will likely come as no surprise that the one on my mind was, “I would like to publish my book, but I am afraid that it won’t be good enough.”
The method that was suggested to sever the connection between X and Y was to replace the word, “but” with the word “and”.
The formulation becomes, “I would like to X, and Y.”
So, my sentence became, “I would like to publish my book, and I am afraid it won’t be good enough.”
Instantly those two things, “publish my book” and “afraid it won’t be good enough” were each separate situations to deal with. No longer were they set against each other. No longer did they cancel each other out. Now they simply ran concurrently. As a result new possibilities of actions came to my thinking. Rather than simply holding a problem that locked me up from taking action, I am now faced with two distinct situations to tackle. Rather than holding me back, the new formulation propels me forward. Rather than let the manuscript gather digital dust, I can work on it. I can craft it to good enough. I can publish it!
Such a relief!
One other guy there came up with an amazing insight.
His sentence was, “I would like to stop smoking, but….” He said he had not been able to come up with anything to put after the “but.” He kept going with the suggestion though. And when he changed the sentence to, “I would like to stop smoking, and…” he got a flood of possibilities. In his own words, “… and I could exercise more”, “… and I could enjoy tastes more”, “… and I could save money…”
So, that’s the distinction: Take your problems and replace “but” with “and.” Check out what happens. I am sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised!