What are your favorite don’ts that prevent you from doing what you need to do to be successful or happy?

Perhaps you believe you don’t have the talent, the money, the confidence, the know-how, the energy, the time, the looks, the brains, the motivation, or the willpower. Ten big don’ts! And there are many more. Hence if I neglected to mention your dearest don’t, add it on now.

What do these don’ts stop you from doing?

“I don’t know,” shrugged Jeff. “I have no idea what I want,” whined Winona. If you, like Jeff or Winona, don’t know what you want, how are you ever going to get it? Don’t tell me you still believe in Santa Claus bringing you what you want. And by the way, how would he know what you want if you don’t even know?

Marilyn Monroe once said, “I wasn’t the prettiest. I wasn’t the most talented. I simply wanted it more than anyone else.” Obviously, there was a lot about Monroe’s life that didn’t work, but if you’re open to learning, then know that anyone in life can be your guide.

If your mind easily zooms in on why you can’t do something, here’s some important advice for you.

Do what interests you, even when there’s more pain than gain. When I first began skiing, I loved the sport—despite falling on almost every turn. Black and blue bruises be damned, it was too much fun to give up!
Learn to tolerate feelings of inadequacy. There are days when you will feel incredibly dumb or klutzy. These are “bad days,” not a life position—unless you choose to make it so.
Quit comparing yourself to the best. Sometimes people think they can’t even try an activity (like writing or public speaking) because they won’t be any good at it. They compare themselves to the best and fall short. Cut that out! No, you’re not the best. You’re not even average. You’re just a beginner. Let yourself be one. Don’t belittle what you’re doing. Don’t call yourself nasty names. And don’t give credence to others’ wisecracks.
Take an action. Thinking, reading, talking, or wishing you could do something is often a good way to begin. But if you want to pursue an activity or reach a goal, you must take the plunge and do it. Thinking is no substitute for action.

If you still find yourself stuck and can’t get moving to do what needs to be done, go back to your list of don’ts. Treat these don’ts as naughty children who are behaving badly. Give them time-outs. Now that they are stuck in their room, you are free! Take the opportunity to go and do what you’ve always wanted to do. No excuses. Do it now!

Discover Your But

If you know what it is that you want to do but you still haven’t gotten around to doing it, it’s time for you to discover your but.

Here’s Jared’s but: “I’d love to play the guitar, but I’m so busy I can never find the time.”

Here’s Zoe’s but: “I’d love to quit my boring job, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to find another one.”

This word but is tricky. It’s a tiny little word that yields great power in our lives. Our job is to make this power work for us rather than against us.

Let’s see how this works. What feelings are generated for you as you read these two sentence stems?
“You’re doing a good job, but. . . .”
“You’re a nice guy, but. . . .”

Were you feeling angst about what would follow the but? Were you anticipating bad news? If so, you’re right on the money. A but sentence has two parts: one positive, the other negative. The essential message of such a sentence is what follows the but. What precedes it is just there to soften the blow or provide the excuse.

Hence if you want to defeat the negative influence of a but sentence, here’s what you must do.

Strategy 1: Place the positive part of your statement after the but. Doing so will help you become more action oriented. Notice the difference:

“I hate working on my resume, but
I want to revise it by the end of the day.”

“I want to revise my resume by the end of the day, but
I hate working on it.”

Can you feel the optimism in the first sentence? Can you feel the resistance in the second sentence? Ending on a more positive note helps fight the resistance!

Strategy 2: Replace the word but (which connotes resistance) with and (which connotes connection). Compare these sentences to Jared and Zoe’s but sentences.

“I never seem to find the time, and
still I’d love to play the guitar.”

“I want to quit my boring job, and
I need to find a job before I can do so.”

By making the shift from but to and, you prevent resistance from snuffing out desire. In addition, giving significance to both parts of the sentence practically implores you to do something to create a resolution.

“I never seem to find the time, and still I’d love to play the guitar; perhaps setting aside time on Sunday evenings would work.”
“I want to quit my boring job, and I need to find a job before I can do so, so I’ll contact a headhunter and investigate job opportunities.”

People typically speak with little awareness of how their word choices affect their actions. Now that you know better, however, make it a point to use the word but to contribute to, rather than diminish, your power.

Change your language, change your life.

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life”, visit http://www.selfgrowth.com/greatways2.html.

Author's Bio: 

Linda Sapadin, PhD, psychologist, author, and motivational coach, is known for her sharp insights and exceptional ability to provide timely and timeless advice. Her self-help books, It’s About Time! and Master Your Fears, earned her extensive media coverage, including appearances on The Today Show, speaking engagements at the Smithsonian, and featured articles in The New York Times and USA Today. Her new book, “NOW I GET IT!” Totally Sensational Advice for Living and Loving, provides inspiring and valuable advice for building competence, enriching relationships, and overcoming self-defeating patterns. Contact her at DrSapadin@aol.com, or visit her Web site at http://www.psychwisdom.com.