The word “but” is one of those interesting, insightful and powerful words. By simply hearing yourself use this word, or catching yourself before you use it, you can change your path and become a better communicator.
(If you are wondering how this relates to money, don’t worry I will get to that)
The word but shows us a few things.
- We don’t care. In some cases the word but is used to cancel everything out said before the word.
- Point out an excuse.
- Not acknowledging your priorities.
I would save money, but ….
I would plan my finances, but ….
I would lead an amazing life, but…..
I would be there for you, but….
Although the but may sound reasonable, it almost never is. If you want to save starting today is the best option, even if this means applying your savings to debt repayment for now. If you wait to plan your finances how is it ever going to get better.
1. When but is used to say the previous statement does not matter, it is often missed as we say it. The result can easily be a negative or hurtful impression left with those around you.
Example; ” I would help you, but I feel a bit lazy right now.”
Although often not this obvious the impression left is often the same.
2. The second common use of the word “but” is masking excuses. This is a statement that is something you want, but there is an excuse that likely seems reasonable when you say it allowing you not to accomplish it.
Example; “I would save money, but I can barely make my bills as it is.”
Not having enough money is a symptom of not planning your spending and not saving, not a reason not to. This statement creates an excuse that sounds reasonable when said, and is powerful when caught and acknowledged.
3. The third and often most limiting is when it is used to mask priorities you are unwilling to acknowledge. This usually shows up as I would do something , but am holding to another choice. Often this creates limiting negatives that are completely unnecessary. With these statements it is easy to resolve the issue and move past it once acknowledge. You can compromise between the two, acknowledge you made the best choice for you and move past it or make a new choice to eliminate the conflict.
Example; “I would save for retirement, but all my savings money is going to pay for this new car.”
With this example you could; decide that a new car was more important than saving for retirement, buy a less expensive car and use the savings to save for retirement or not have a new car and put all the money towards retirement. Regardless of the option you choose the word “but” was powerful in pointing out the conflict and allowing you to resolve it and move past the limiting thoughts the conflict it creating for you.
The gift of the word “but” is when you catch yourself using it you can make your self-aware of your hurtful comments, excuses, limitations and take the action to achieve the finances and life you want.
P.S. Replacing the word but with however or other replacements does not change the impact.